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VO S TO K S O S C H A R I TY F U N D TO G E T H E R W I T H T H E L I A I S O N O F F I C E R S O N I D P S O F T H E M I N I S T RY O F S O C I A L PO L I CY O F U K RA I N E

R E PO RT: M O N I TO R I N G O F E X E RC I S I N G O F T H E R I G H T O N S O C I A L P ROT E CT I O N B Y T H E I N T E R N A L LY D I S P LAC E D P E R S O N S

WA I T F O R V E R I F I CAT I O N AND THEN APPEALED

B E T W E E N J U N E 1 A N D A U G U S T 31, 2016


Ж Д И П РО В Е Р К И – П ОТО М О Б Ж А Л У Й

Monitoring of the exercising of the right to social protection by the internally displaced persons Сontents The results of analysis of requests

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The results of monitoring of the departments of social protection (DoSP)

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Issues regarding the general workflow of the Departments of Social Protection

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Issues related to home visits to inspect the living circumstances of IDPs.

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Resuming social payments to IDPs.

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Recommendations

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To the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine

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To the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine

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To Oblast and Kyiv City State Administrations and local government bodies

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To the Departments of Social Protection

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ОТ Ч Е Т: М О Н И ТО Р И Н Г Р Е А Л И З А Ц И И П РА В А Н А СО Ц И А Л Ь Н У Ю З А Щ И Т У В П Л

Monitoring of the exercising of the right to social protection by the internally displaced persons was performed by Vostok SOS charity fund together with the liaison officers on IDPs of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine between June 1 and August 31, 2016.

The monitoring included: • analyzing 1,652 calls on the legal aid hotline of the charity organization ‘Vostok SOS charity fund’ and 1,400 requests submitted to liaison officers on IDPs of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine; • analyzing requests of IDPs submitted to legal aid offices of the fund in Kyiv, Luhansk oblast (Sieverodonetsk, Starobilsk, Rubizhne), Donetsk oblast (Bakhmut, Mariupol, Kramatorsk) (637 requests); • analyzing requests submitted to liaison officers in 17 oblasts (Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Luhansk, Odessa, Poltava, Rivne, Sumy, Cherkassy, Chernihiv, Chernivtsi, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Khmelnytsk) and Kyiv city.

• visiting of the Departments of Social Protection in 17 oblasts of Ukraine (Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Luhansk, Odessa, Poltava, Rivne, Sumy, Cherkassy, Chernihiv, Chernivtsi, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Khmelnytsk) and Kyiv city between August 18 and August 31. The monitoring included visits to 242 local Departments of Social Protection (DoSP).

The results of analysis of requests 1. People at the temporarily occupied territories have no opportunity to exercise their right for social protection unless they become IDPs or the territories are returned under a control of Ukrainian government. No social payments, including pension payments, are made to those people of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts who did not leave the temporarily occupied territories and register as an IDP according to the established registration procedure. Only after people from the occupied territories are granted IDP status, they receive the possibility to restore their social payments or apply for them. In fact, this is against the UN Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement, which prohibit to force displacement, as such state

AREAS OF M O N I TO R I N G

www.radnyk.org

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Ж Д И П РО В Е Р К И – П ОТО М О Б Ж А Л У Й

Oleksandr’s case. Oleksandr is a citizen of Ukraine, a retiree, who lives in the temporarily occupied territory (Kirovske city, Donetsk oblast) and has not registered as an IDP. Oleksandr still works at the ‘Komsomolets Donbassa’ mine, which is also located in non-governmentcontrolled territories. However, the company that employs Oleksandr is registered on the government-controlled territory, therefore he pays taxes and fees to the state budget of Ukraine. After introducing the changes to the legislation that stipulate obligatory registration as an IDP to receive social payments for citizens of Ukraine living in the non-government-controlled territories in November 2014, Oleksandr no longer receives his retirement pension payments. At the same time, Oleksandr does not plan to become an IDP and move to the government-controlled territory, because in Kirovske he has a job and a home.

of affairs stimulates people to displace only for the reason that the state stopped paying, for instance, pensions, which is the only source of income for elderly people or people with disability who live in the temporarily occupied territories. 2. Lack of opportunity to exercise basic rights of IDPs due to the lack of corresponding laws and by-laws, as well as due to the changes introduced into the existing regulations. For instance, on May 14, 2016 the President of Ukraine signed the Law on support for IDP children regarding vocational and higher education. In particular, it stipulates that tuition fee is fully or partially paid from the state and local budgets, children are eligible for concessional long-term education loans, social welfare scholarship, and free accommodation at the dormitory. However, until the present day, the Cabinet of Ministers or Ukraine did not adopt a target program that would allow these regulations to be implemented, and the budget for this 4

program for 2016 has not been allocated. Such situation, when the social rights are declared, but there is no real mechanism to implement them, is the same when it comes to providing housing to the IDPs, paying compensations for homes lost or damaged due to the ATO, concessional housing loans for IDPs etc. Besides, no changes that would take into account the internal displacement and its consequences have been made to the number of regulations that stipulate allocation of various kinds of social payments (including state assistance for low-income families, maternity payments etc.). For instance, according to the Procedure of allocation and payment of state social assistance for low-income families, approved by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers #250 dated February 24, 2003, this kind of social payment can be paid at the place of actual residence in case the applicant provides a certificate of family composition, which is issued only to the owners of property. In most cases, IDPs cannot receive this certificate, as they do not own, but are renting their current accommodation. As it is not possible for IDPs to receive a family composition certificate, their application for

Iryna’s case Iryna lives in Kharkiv, where she moved from Stakhaniv in Luhansk oblast after the military actions started. She received welfare for people with low-income in her previous place of residence. When she applied for it in Kharkiv, her application was rejected, because she could not provide a complete package of documents, which includes the certificate of family composition. It is not possible for her to receive it at the place of her current residence, because according to the acting legislation such certificates are only issued to property owners. During Iryna’s stay in Kharkiv, her application for financial assistance for people with low income has been rejected three times.


ОТ Ч Е Т: М О Н И ТО Р И Н Г Р Е А Л И З А Ц И И П РА В А Н А СО Ц И А Л Ь Н У Ю З А Щ И Т У В П Л

allocation of state assistance for low-income families is rejected. 3. Termination of payments of all kinds of social payments to IDPs is happening on a large scale, and the procedures to renew the payments are complicated and lack transparency. Starting from February 2016, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine has been taking action to decrease the number of IDPs who receive social payments. The payments were often terminated because people were included in the so-called ‘SBU lists’ (they include about 500,000 IDPs who have allegedly either never left or have returned to the temporarily occupied territories, and therefore have to be deprived of all kinds of social payments), because of the lack of the stamp of the State Migration Service on IDP certificates (this obligatory stamp was canceled in January 2016, and nonetheless the DoSP continued to demand it until mid-June 2016 and terminated all kinds of social payments in case it was absent), because of expiration of IDP certificate etc. Resuming social payments is a very complicated procedure, which includes reviewing of the case by the commission, after the place of residence of an IDP is confirmed by social services officers, police, local office of the Ukrainian Pension Fund, State Migration Service etc. It is declared that the purpose of the home visit is to confirm the fact that an IDP is residing at the address mentioned in their registration documents. In almost all regions IDPs are not informed in advance about the date and time of the home visit. At the same time, home visits are performed during the working hours, and IDPs often find out that the officer visited their place of residence only after their social payments have been terminated. After the home visit, the documents are forwarded to local commissions, which power to make decision about allocating/ prolonging/resuming social payments to IDPs. However, in a number of regions the number of applications to resume social payments is many times larger than the number of cases reviewed by the commissions. And even after the positive decision to resume the payments is made, it www.vostok-sos.org

Olena’s case Olena and her husband and child have left Donetsk. In their new place of residence they applied for target aid for IDPs to pay accommodation fees. In August, they had a home visit, but Olena’s husband was away. The neighbors confirmed that he lives with Olena and their child. In October, they received their target aid, but only for Olena and the child. The DoSP explained that because Olena’s husband was not home during the home visit, he cannot be eligible for target aid.

is possible that they are not resumed from the moment they were stopped, and in some cases (for instance, when the IDP certificate was canceled), allocating social payments again is possible only in six months after they were stopped and after the person goes through the entire procedure necessary to allocate them. 4. Strengthening control over IDPs through regular home visits to confirm their place of residence, restricting their freedom of movement, possibility to access information about bank accounts and operations, restricting the possibility to choose a bank for receiving social payments, by providing this options for them only through a state bank. Such measures of the so-called ‘verification’ and ‘physical identification’ that are applied only to the IDPs, are discriminatory in nature and put the IDPs in obviously worse circumstances than all other citizens of Ukraine who are not IDPs. Home visits to confirm the place of residence limit freedom of movement of IDPs, as when an IDP is absent at the place of residence during the home visit, the date and time for which is not announced in advance, becomes a ground for stopping all kinds of social payments to them. Also, IDPs can receive all kinds of social payments only to the accounts opened in state-owned bank Oshchadbank. There is a special account plan for IDPs, initially called ‘Skhidnyi’ (‘Eastern’), and later renamed ‘My Country’), 5


Ж Д И П РО В Е Р К И – П ОТО М О Б Ж А Л У Й

which does not include the options to make payments through the Internet, transferring money between accounts, withdrawing funds through ATMs of other banks, and in case there were no operations on the card for three months, it is automatically blocked and can be unblocked only through the procedure of physical identification. At the same time, bank card of an IDP has to include graphic and electronic information, as well as the digital signature of its owner (for retiree IDPs this bank card simultaneously acts as a retiree certificate). In addition, IDPs are obliged to undergo physical identification in Oshchadbank branches twice a year, and the cards are blocked unless they do so.

Anatoliy’s case Anatoliy is an IDP from Rovenky (Luhansk oblast) living in Khmelnytskyi oblast. On July 15, 2016 he submitted an application, photographs and all required information to receive an electronic retiree certificate. In September, he received his pension payment on his Oshchadbank card, which is valid through March 2017. And on September 16, when he tried to withdraw money in the ATM, it turned out that his card is blocked. Oschadbank branch office informed him that his card was blocked, because his new card was ready. However, Anatoliy could not receive information about where he could receive his new bank card, which is acting as an electronic retiree certificate.

The results of monitoring of the departments of social protection (DoSP) Issues regarding the general workflow of the Departments of Social Protection Working hours for consultation of citizens. In most Departments, citizens are received on Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm. However, despite the claims of the Deputy Minister of Social Policy Vitaliy Mushchinin, Departments of Social 6

Protection in Kyiv city and Luhansk oblast have working days when citizens are not received or ‘short’ working days, when consultations for IDPs are nor provided. For instance, in Starobilsk, employees of the Department do not consult IDPs on Mondays and Fridays. A similar situation is observed in all DoSPs in Kyiv city. Almost all visited DoSPs (229) are accessible for categories of population with limited mobility, which means they have ramps, button to call the employees of the departments, consultations for citizens are provided only on the ground floors of buildings. At the same time, many DoSPs are inaccessible for categories of population with limited mobility even when they have a ramp, because consultations for citizens are provided not on the ground floor (for instance, Chervonozavodske Department in Kharkiv, or Solomyanka district Department in Kyiv). Half of the visited Departments had queues (120). However, in most cases they were short (on average up to 10 people). At the same time, district Departments in Kyiv city, as well as Departments in Luhansk oblast, had queues as long as 50-80 people, and in Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, and Starobilsk up to 120-150 people. At the same time, 158 (65%) visited Departments employ a practice of consulting IDPs by previous appointment, and 122 Offices provide phone consultations. However, at the time of the visit (August 22) appointments in Kramatorsk were available for November and in Berdiansk for mid-December. On average, there are 2-5 employees of the Department who are simultaneously providing consultations for IDPs on various issues (registration and allocation of target aid.) In almost all of the 242 visited Departments there are information boards with information about registration of IDPs, allocation of targeted aid, information about NGOs that work with IDPs.


ОТ Ч Е Т: М О Н И ТО Р И Н Г Р Е А Л И З А Ц И И П РА В А Н А СО Ц И А Л Ь Н У Ю З А Щ И Т У В П Л

Registration of IDPs. 102 Departments provide services on replacement of IDP certificates that have no stamps of the State Migration Service (although such IDP certificates are in fact valid and do not need to be replaced). In 117 Departments it is demanded that children are present when they are registered as IDPs. In some cases, these demands are made only in regards to children who are older than 14. In some Departments (such as in Kyiv-Sviatoshyn district) it is demanded that the parent who submits an application to register their child as an IDP submits a certificate from the kindergarten or a school to confirm that they and the child are cohabitating. In most of the Departments (132), despite the requirements of the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers #505, employees continue to accept application documents for target aid for IDPs (although Oshchadbank is currently the only agency empowered to accept them). Issues related to home visits to inspect the living circumstances of IDPs. It should be noted that the practices regarding home visits of IDPs to confirm their place of residence are not unified and vary in different regions of Ukraine. There are on average between one and three social service inspectors and DoSPs employees who are involved in home visits. At the same time, employees of other state agencies and local government bodies are also recruited to perform the visits. In particular, these are the employees of Pension Fund local offices, State Financial Inspection, State Migration Service, Employment Centers, National Police, Social Services Centers for families, children and youth, local councils etc. DoSPs employees do not inform the IDPs about home visits in advance in over half of the DoSPs (141). During the inspection, the DoSPs employees and members of commissions not only confirm the fact of residence, but also the living conditions and needs of the IDPs. www.radnyk.org

In some regions, employees of DoSPs make IDPs regularly visit the DoSPs to confirm their residence. For instance, in Pology district (Zaporizhzhia oblast) the IDPs are obliged to ‘sign’ at the DoSPs between 1st and 5th day of every month. Resuming social payments to IDPs. In a number of regions there is a sizeable gap between the number of applications submitted to resume social payments and the number of cases when the payments are resumed. For instance, payments were resumed in 301 cases of 5,983 in Sloviansk Department (Donetsk oblast) and in 198 cases of 3,548 in Sievierodonetsk Department. Commissions that are empowered to review the cases on resuming social payments gather not very often – on average, between the moment when the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers #365 dated June 8, 2016 and September 1, 2016, in the areas where the visited Departments are located they gathered once a week. At the same time, in some of the Departments that were visited the commissions were either not yet formed, or have met only once or twice during the summer.

Recommendations The main recommendations to change the existing situation with ensuring the right for social protection of the IDPs and people living in the temporarily occupied territories may be as follows: To the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine: • to develop together with the nongovernmental organizations the mechanisms to exercise the right for social protection, including payment all kinds of social payments and pensions, to the citizens in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine; • to adopt new or amend the existing by-laws, which will allow to exercise the rights of IDPs on housing, education etc.; • to amend the Resolution of the Cabinet 7


Ж Д И П РО В Е Р К И – П ОТО М О Б Ж А Л У Й

of Ministers of Ukraine #365 ‘Some issues regarding the payment of social payments to IDPs’, taking into account the proposals made by the working group of non-governmental organizations at the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine. To the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine: • to approve the draft of Model Regulations on Commission for Allocation (Resuming) Social Payments to IDPs, to forward it to structural subdivisions of the Ministry; • to approve the draft of Model Regulations on Creating of the Working Group (which performs home visits to confirm the place of residence/presence of IDPs (according to the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers #365); • to resume the meetings of the working group on social security of IDPs at the Ministry of Social Policy; • to explain to the employees at the local DoSPs that IDP certificates without the stamp of State Migration Service are valid and should not be replaced; • to explain to the employees at the local DoSPs that to demand the presence of a child when registering them as IDP or to demand additional documents (such as certificates from kindergarten or school) is unawful. To Oblast and Kyiv City State Administrations and local government bodies: • to ensure immediate review of all applications for resuming social payments, submitted by the IDPs to DoSPs; • to increase the number of structural subdivisions of bodies dealing with social protection of population in proportion to the number of IDPs in the regions, so that they would be able to perform the newly appointed duties on control of the presence of IDPs in their place of registration.

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To the Departments of Social Protection: • to ensure consultations for IDPs by the employees of the Departments during the working week, eliminating the practice of introduction of ‘nonconsulting’ or ‘short’ working days, and consider the possibility of enabling consultations during one of the weekend days, too, in the districts of cities, cities, and districts of oblasts where a large number of IDPs reside (in particular, in Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, Kharkiv oblasts and Kyiv city); • to ensure the accessibility of rooms of DoSPs for groups of population with limited mobility; • to increase the number of employees of DoSPs who provide consultations for IDPs, according to the number of IDPs registered in the district.


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REPORT: Monitoring of Exercising of the Right on Social Protection by the IDPs  

Monitoring of the exercising of the right to social protection by the internally displaced persons was performed by Vostok SOS charity fund...

REPORT: Monitoring of Exercising of the Right on Social Protection by the IDPs  

Monitoring of the exercising of the right to social protection by the internally displaced persons was performed by Vostok SOS charity fund...

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