Disability Pension: Rudolf Hundstorfer, Minister for Social Affairs, puts more pressure on the weakest
Active Unemployed Austria demands a rapid stop of deteriorations and call for a vigil in front of ministry of social affairs!
(Vienna/Graz, Nov 13th, 2014) „Active Unemployed Austria“ has learnt yesterday that the government has introduced a bill to amend legislation on disability pension on Nov 5th 2014 and despite numerous critical comments pursues the implementation of massive deteriorations for disabled and chronically ill people, tightens the regime of sanctions, undermines data protection and creates new hurdles for the application for disability pension.
The health insurance becomes taskmaster for disabled and chronically ill people!
While we could assume that the purpose of a health insurance is to support the people in case of illness and to enable freely selected treatment at doctors of own choice this is currently changing for the weakest: Instead of being granted the disability pension, the applicant may be deemed fit for rehabilitation and has to undergo a case management at the health insurance since January 1st, 2014 and has to reveal all data. Thereby even treatments selected by oneself are observed meticulously. Persons affected reported even so far about massive pressure from employees of the health insurance. They do most often not have special training as “Case Manager” and are no doctors too.
According to the Supreme Court even mandatory treatment are considered “reasonable”, even though every fifth has to expect permanent damage (e.g. disk operations). Specially exposed are mentally handicapped people as many psychiatric medicines can endanger the health significantly and are not effective at many people. As per the UN Convention against torture, which is part of Austria’s constitution, compulsory medication with psychiatric drugs is occasionally to be treated as torture. Under the neo-liberal delusion, everybody must be thrown onto the labour market, people are helped to death.
Now the health insurance is to get a broadly formulated threat of sanctions as disciplinary measure:
“In case the person due to receive rehabilitation delays or foils processes or measures designed by the case Management by neglecting the duty to contribute repeatedly, the health insurance can decide to put dormant the rehabilitation benefits, partially or wholly, temporarily or permanently, as long as the consequences of the behaviour is drawn to the attention of the insured person in writing.” (Art. 1, Num. 24 of the amendment of § 143a (2) ASVG)
The explanations to the government bill define the trigger for punishment of non-compliant disabled quite broadly: “Foiling” is assumed when the prescribed measures are prevented, brought to fail or spoilt, but also when they are begun, however the undisturbed process is arbitrarily impaired. A “delay” is assumed if the prescribed measures are stalled by the person due to undergo rehabilitation, the process or progress restrained or slowed.”
Every resistance against the human rights violating compulsory measures can herewith be nipped in the bud. This form of structural force cannot be part of a sustainable recovery within the possible and will further damage the health of many people.
Sanctions as far as we can see
A special trap is built into the initial application: As per the hollow motto “Rehabilitation prior to pension” the application for disability pension is “predominantly” an application for rehabilitation. If it is deemed to have not sufficiently cooperated in finding a job that is considered reasonable, the application is reinterpreted from the top into an application for only a declarative statement of disability and the applicant does neither receive the pension nor the rehabilitation or retraining benefit. The basic right of decision on the application by the applicant is so refused. (Art. 1 Num. 46 government bill regarding § 366 (4) ASVG)
In case an application is submitted, but withdrawn after the medical test, this medical report is forwarded automatically to the AMS even if the applicant does no longer register to be unemployed at the AMS.
It is evident that the minister for social affairs and the social partners that are behind the reform (AK [workers’ chamber], ÖGB [unions], wko [chamber for the economy], iv [association of industries]) do not grant solid rights to the affected people. The people eliminated from the economy as redundant are de facto treated like subhuman beings without any rights. They have to surrender to the social bureaucracy, are degraded to totally transparent subjects by extensive data collections and are continuously humiliated. This even though they have themselves contributed to “their” social insurance!
Stand up at the day of human rights against injustice with online petition and vigil
“Active Unemployed Austria“ therefore calls for a vigil on the international day of human rights on December 10th, 2014 at 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in front of the ministry of social affairs in order to protest against the massively rising violations of human rights in the social sector brought about by the minister of social affairs Rudolf Hundstorfer. Special commemoration to the rising number of victims of the now completed neo liberal activation and work-through-force regime ordered by Hundstorfer and supported by the social partners. “Active Unemployed Austria“ calls upon affected people and their relatives to document deterioration of health or measures that even led to death and forward them (anonymized) to make visible the suffering originated from the minister for social affairs and his desk culprits
The association „Verein Aktive Arbeitslose“ demands further in an online petition the immediate stop of the repressive regime around the disability pension and a new start by full inclusion of associations of affected.