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The Minister of Social Affairs Maret Maripuu replied to the interpellation concerning the payment of pensions for incapacity for work (No 101), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Helle Kalda, Inara Luigas, Aadu Must, Vladimir Velman and Valeri Korb on 20 November 2008. The interpellators wished to know why the Ministry of Social Affairs had not been able to launch the system of entering the data relating to the payment of pensions for incapacity for work in due time and to issue a relevant Regulation. 

Maripuu explained that the Act on Amendments to the Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act had entered into force on 1 January 2008. As a result of the amendment, the monthly social benefits for disabled persons of working age increased by 30 per cent in 2008. “The problem is that we wanted to introduce individual approach which was planned to enter into force on 1 October. Unfortunately, a delay has occurred here because information technology systems were not completed in due time,” said Maripuu. 

“In connection with the transition to the new procedure for determining disability, the payment of the pension for incapacity for work was delayed in the case of 1885 people,” admitted the Minister of Social Affairs. She emphasised that, as at that day, the pension had been paid out in those cases. The delays had amounted to up to five days in more than a half of the cases and up to 45 days in 155 cases out of 1800. Maripuu also admitted that there was a problem with the correct payment of social benefits for disabled persons as at that day. The amounts of the benefits range from 260 to 840 kroons. The Minister explained that the disability benefit was an amount paid in addition to the pension for incapacity for work, with the primary aim of partially covering the additional costs incurred because of the disability, for example, special transport. “At present we have paid the benefits in the minimum amount to persons with a severe or profound disability. 2400 persons with a moderate disability, including those who have submitted an application for the first time, have not received their benefits in due term. In February, it will be possible to make the first payments of additional costs in correct amount. Set-offs will be made by the end of March,” said Maripuu. 

The Minister of Social Affairs admitted that several shortcomings in the organisation of work had come to light in connection with that particular case. “It was not until the incorrect payment of disability payments was revealed that an internal audit was carried out which points to the sad fact that owing to the ineffective organisation of the work of the Ministry departments, the failure to complete IT-solutions in due term could not be foreseen. When the problem finally came to light, all attention was immediately focused on the process of identifying permanent incapacity for work, as the pension for incapacity for work may be the main income of a disabled person,” stated Maripuu. 

The Minister of Social Affairs also replied to the interpellation concerning the merger of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Labour Market Board (No 108), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Vilja Savisaar, Kalle Laanet, Evelyn Sepp, Arvo Sarapuu, Toivo Tootsen, Nelli Privalova, Enn Eesmaa, Inara Luigas, Kadri Simson, Helle Kalda, Valeri Korb, Tiit Kuusmik, Heimar Lenk and Marika Tuus on 10 December 2008. 

The Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi replied to the interpellation concerning the taking account of the remarks made in environmental impact assessment (No 106), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Aleksei Lotman, Mart Jüssi, Toomas Trapido, Maret Merisaar and Marek Strandberg on 8 December 2008, and the interpellation concerning the delay in the preparation of the Nature Protection Development Plan (No 116), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Aleksei Lotman, Marek Strandberg, Toomas Trapido, Maret Merisaar and Valdur Lahtvee on 17 December 2008. 

The Riigikogu did not deliberate the interpellation concerning the situation in Narva power stations (No 100), submitted to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts by Members of the Riigikogu Lembit Kaljuvee, Valeri Korb and Eldar Efendijev on 12 November 2008 because the interpellators withdrew it. 

The Riigikogu Press Service

 
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