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This year, veterans of the second Karabakh war held several protests, demanding that the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population meet their demands for the definition of disability. In the last action, the disabled, whom the police did not let into the building of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, broke the glass of the door. The police were able to prevent the conflict from escalating. Video footage of the incident went viral on social media, angering the public, who believe officials are deliberately depriving war veterans of their legal rights.

Turan turned to an expert in social issues, the former head of the organization "Transparency - Azerbaijan" Rene Safaraliyeva, with a request to explain the reason why some war veterans do not receive the status of a disabled person. There is dissatisfaction for other reasons as well. Safaraliyeva's computer contains documents of veterans whom she provided legal, technical, and some material support to.

Question: In 2015, Azerbaijan adopted other criteria for determining disability, fundamentally different from the Soviet ones. As a result of the transition to the new criteria, thousands of civilians have been deprived of their disability, and wounded veterans of the Karabakh war are also dissatisfied. What is the novelty of the criteria for determining disability?

Rəna SəfərəliyevayaAnswer: The Ministry of Labor, when awarding disability or refusal, is obliged to use very strict criteria set out in the Regulation on the criteria for determining disability and health restrictions, adopted by Decree N 413 of the Cabinet of Ministers of December 30, 2015.

The following disability application review process has been defined. In cities, in the polyclinic at the place of residence, in districts in the central district polyclinic, form 88, an identity card and a final document on unfitness for the army, which is issued by the Central Military Polyclinic in Baku, are entered into the system. The people nicknamed  the street "Papanin", according to the former name of this street.

A diagnosis is entered into the computer from the document on suitability/unfitness and the machine checks it against the list that fall under disability. Every disease has codes. Documents are scanned automatically and information about the award or refusal comes to the citizen's phone in the form of SMS. Employees of the Ministry of Labor see the documents in the system, but cannot make any changes at this stage. The eligibility document (şehadatname) ends with the wording - not fit in peacetime and wartime - this is a disability; or not good in peacetime and limited good in wartime.

Here  is the first problem. War veterans who have received such a wording are sure that they are entitled to disability, but the picture is not so simple. The criteria for unfitness for the army and the criteria for disability do not match 100%.

Question: Veterans show injuries on their bodies and say that the Ministry of Labor does not consider them disabled...

Answer: Let me give you a simple example. A veteran is entitled to permanent disability of group 3 if he has lost 3 fingers on one hand, or he has a severe contracture or ankylosis, which deprives the fingers of functionality (Article 2.5.1). If there are three fingers in such a situation, but on two hands, such a person is not fit for military service in peacetime, but he is not entitled to disability.

In the case of ankylosis, or non-working fingers, there is a definition - a pronounced degree - then disability is due. With a mild degree of disability is not allowed. But people read the diagnosis - ankylosis and demand to give them a document that gives them the right to receive benefits monthly and for life. People are looking for a problem in the wrong place - the problem is in the strict criteria for disability and the mistakes of the military clinic

Another example. Disability is allowed if the leg bone is 7 cm shorter than the norm. And if it is 6 cm, then they will not be accepted into the army, but disability is not allowed either. These are our valiant soldiers who are protesting and got into such a legal gap.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection studied the problem with the criteria and decided that from July 1, other criteria will be used, where the loss of working capacity will be assessed as a percentage. I do not know all the details, but I can say that a soldier with a bone shortened by 3 cm, who today does not fall under disability and does not have any benefits, except for a veteran's pension of 80 manats, along with those who were not wounded, will receive part of those benefits that a disabled person of the 3rd group receives today.

Citizens need to know that the existing problem is in the legislative framework, and not in the reluctance of employees of the Ministry of Labor to help veterans. Of course, in order to avoid rumors and public discontent, it was necessary to explain to the soldiers and people through the media about the rights and obligations of both citizens and employees of the ministry.

In addition, in the document issued by the military clinic, there are often errors, but this is fixable. A soldier who has received a refusal can sign up for the Commission and receive a referral to the main specialized medical institution. For example, with a leg injury at the Institute of Traumatology. And, if they give a certificate with a more severe diagnosis, then the Commission of the Ministry of Labor awards disability, because the military polyclinic is departmental, and the Institute of Traumatology is a higher authority.

Question: The problem under discussion has reached the level of parliamentary discussion. What administrative solutions are available to promptly satisfy the legitimate requests of military veterans?

Answer: The main reason for the veterans' dissatisfaction is the slow bureaucratic machine (although officials' mistakes do happen, they are identified and corrected) and the veterans' ignorance of their rights.

I support MP Nigar Arpadai's proposal to establish legal support centers for veterans. But with a small correction. The Centers of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection DOST provide detailed information about the benefits and services provided by the Ministry of Labor. Along with this, the law provides for other benefits provided by various structures, for example, there are income tax benefits for war veterans, which almost no one knows about, or free psychological assistance at TABIB and the Clinic of the Medical University. It would be nice to create something like a legal consultation at DOSTs, where war veterans with and without disabilities could get advice on all the benefits due to them under the law.

Question: Some of the dissatisfied veterans say that they went to war without having their own housing, and when they return, they cannot solve the housing problem, having the status of a participant in the war.

Answer: In this case, there are shortcomings in the normative documents. As a result of a legislative shortcomings, a war veteran with a disability and with a subsidized mortgage loan will not receive housing or financial support from the state to close the mortgage. Repaying a mortgage from a pension is simply unrealistic.

Here's how it goes. Veterans with disabilities are entitled to housing from the state (apartments, land plots and assistance in the construction of individual housing - it all depends on the place of residence). The direction in connection with housing is issued by a special commission on veterans' affairs under the executive branch, and housing is issued by the Ministry of Labor. The rules are set out in the Housing Code (section three, residential premises provided under a social tenancy agreement).

However, there is a problem. If there is housing taken on a preferential mortgage (it is due to military personnel), then housing is not allowed. (Housing Code, Article 55. Deregistration of citizens as those in need of living space. 55.1.4. when granting a preferential mortgage loan in accordance with the procedure established by law for the purchase of living space in accordance with the legislative acts of the Republic of Azerbaijan).

On the other hand, the Yaşat Foundation closes consumer loans to veterans with disabilities, also taken before the war, but according to the Fund's rules, mortgage loans do not fall into this category.

It should be pointed out that here, in part, there are mistakes of the veterans themselves, because when obtaining a mortgage, insurance is often not issued, which provides certain benefits in the event of a disability.

There is another problem that causes unreasonable dissatisfaction of veterans - some of them are trying to get housing in the capital or other cities where they may have lived for years, but housing is issued only at the place of registration, and rightly so.

Question: How is the definition of disability decided in the case of civilians injured in the war?

Answer: As a result of the existing legal gap, unnoticed by the legislators, a civilian who lost his arm during the shelling of Barda, from the point of view of the law, does not receive any special benefits and enjoys the same rights as ordinary invalids due to illness.

According to the clarification to the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 453, civilians who died or went missing during hostilities receive the status of a martyr and, along with this, almost all benefits, like martyr military personnel; and civilians who received a disability as a result of hostilities are not mentioned at all in this decree. 

I hope that these three problems will be resolved by appropriate changes.

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Taksi sayı azaldılır, bəs köhnə taksiçilər nə ilə dolanacaqlar? – Rauf Ağamirzəyev Çətin sualda

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