Elderly couple suing over home care cuts; ruling due in December

An elderly couple of 89 and 88 years has filed a lawsuit against the municipality of Dantumadiel. The couple will be losing their home assistance on January 1st, without which they won't be able to live independently.

Their case appeared before the court in Groningen on Tuesday. The couple received legal support from Ieder(in), the umbrella organization for the chronically ill and people with disabilities. This organization claims that dropping the home assistance is in conflict with the new Social Support Act (WMO). According to Ieder(in), many municipalities violate the law by scrapping the home assistance for people with disabilities and the elderly.

Stopping the home assistance should only be done after thorough research and with a decent justification. That was not done with the couple in question. "My father is almost blind, my mother severely incontinent. If the home assistance lapses, the house will become dirty very quickly", their daughter argued in court on Tuesday.

The municipality says that people should contribute to the help they receive in times of cut backs. The municipality acknowledges that it did not look at the individual situation when they removed the aid for the couple. "It is a general measure. Then we'll see later what we encounter in objections"

According to the couple's lawyer, this means that the couple will have to pay more than 400 euro per month themselves. "They have a state pension and a small pension. Then they will be well below the social assistance level". He finds the municipality's argument that the couple owns a private house irrelevant. "You can not eat stones."

The court will rule on December 9th.