For years, a thirty-three-year-old man from Central Bohemia who was diagnosed with a mental illness lived on with the help of his loved ones because the Czech Social Security Administration (ČSSZ) did not grant him a disability pension.
The man also applied for help from the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, but his effort was unsuccessful. The matter was only resolved by the Public Defender of Rights, Stanislav Křeček. Thanks to him, the man’s pension was granted and he will receive a quarter of a million crowns for the last five years.
After investigating the case, Stanislav Křeček found that the man was entitled to the allowance. According to the ombudsman, he should have received a disability pension since April 2016. The Social Security Administration had to pay the man all the unpaid pensions for five years. In addition, it had to grant him a disability pension in the monthly amount of CZK 3,210.
He repeatedly applied to ČSSZ for the pension in 2016 and 2017. According to the office, he was not entitled to it because he did not meet the conditions of the so-called minimum period of social insurance. According to the law, young applicants for a disability pension between the ages of 26 and 28 (he was 27 at the time of his application) must pay social insurance for four years before they are entitled to a disability pension.
The Defender found that the Office didn’t include the man’s period of study prior to his 18th birthday. According to the officials’ original decision, the man had only three years and 171 days of social insurance paid. He was therefore only 194 days away from the minimum period of insurance. The man also appealed to the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs to remove the harshness of the law. When his appeal failed, he gave the case to the Public Defender of rights as a last resort.
“For the purposes of meeting the condition of the required period of insurance to qualify for a disability pension, the period of study at a secondary or higher education institution in the Czech Republic before the age of 18 is also counted,” Křeček said of the error. ČSSZ corrected the error soon after he brought it to its attention.
The Public Defender of rights deals with problems with disability pensions not being granted or their amount being wrongly determined quite often. He points out that for each of these incidents, it is necessary to see the person’s story behind them and wants officials to investigate them more carefully. Their possible misconduct usually comes at a high cost to these people, who have been forced to live below the poverty line for many years.