The government is planning to partially transfer its mandate to provide benefits to vulnerable categories in place. Recently on the website of the Ministry of social policy was published for public comment a draft law that changes the rules, the website of “Today”.
In accordance with that document “in place” are privileges for installing and paying for a landline phone, as well as the issues of entitlement to free travel. As for the “phone” benefits – with the proliferation of mobile communication and new connections wired phones became smaller, and the cost of these services was significantly lower than mobile operators.
With “transport” benefits is another matter. Most people use public transport regularly, the price of travel is constantly growing, and benefits for travel is very important for those who have it.
The difference in the social significance of these benefits even says that the bill prepared by the Ministry of social policy, called “On amendments to some laws of Ukraine regarding incentives for travel”, although it refers to different benefits. Therefore, we focus on the question of concessionary travel more.
I want to change
To date, the laws are simply listed incentives for each category of citizens, and the Cabinet of Ministers or local authorities are required to budget funds for the payment of these benefits. But local budgets are not always able (or willing) to Fund this article.
“Given the lack of consideration of preferential transport and that local authorities allocate funds for discounted fares and benefits on payment of communication services according to the residual principle, or did not allocate, today there is a problem with the rights of individuals to benefits for travel, which leads to social tension”, – is spoken in the explanatory note to the bill.
The new bill provides that benefits for travel for many categories of citizens will be granted “on the basis of the relevant decisions of local authorities and are paid in accordance of their order and size”. And what will be the decision of the local authorities to preserve the benefits or abandon them – will depend on the capabilities of the local budget.
Also, the bill contains a new provision that benefits for travel may be available “including in the form of cash”, that is, local authorities can make a decision to pay beneficiaries certain amounts, but the public transport they will have to pay on a common basis.
Is it permissible to “narrowing of benefits,” when there is no money?
For example, the law “About bases of social protection of persons with disabilities in Ukraine” says that “narrowing the content and scope of rights of persons with disabilities to free travel on transport not permitted”. Will this “narrowing the content and scope of” those cases where the local authority will find the money to compensation for the use of people with disabilities and decides on concessionary fares for them?
Experts perceive possible innovations is ambiguous. President of the Ukrainian analytical center Oleksandr Okhrimenko believes that such changes “logic”.
“Money in the budgets are not. And this year is unlikely. At the moment there are so many benefits that are set but not met, that is, the money for them are not listed because they are just in budget. Of course, the conflict begins. Carriers argue. From this situation, you need to go. Do [need to] refer the matter to the local level, that problem was solved on the basis of the real situation”, – says Alexander Okhrimenko.
At the same time, according to economic expert Boris Kushniruk, the bill laid “is fundamentally the wrong approach”.
“Social benefits are state, not local governments. It is the state that determines which category of people are the beneficiaries, and therefore, the state has to Fund them,” he says.
But the proposal of payment of benefits in cash Boris Kushniruk thinks is right.
“I’m not the first to emphasize that all benefits should go exclusively in the form of money. The problem is that there is no state registry of beneficiaries. We have deliberately scattered all over dozens of registers, which creates chaos and abuse. This register must be created, to be seen according to each individual, who receives social transfers. To do it now is very simple, it would wish. It is no secret that we have a bunch of people illegally made themselves the papers, that they “Chernobyl”, “ATO”, etc. If will be a complete registry, it is possible to understand whether a person has grounds for status of exempt, on the basis of the document he receives benefits”, – said Boris Kushniruk.
What travel benefits will be transferred to the discretion of local authorities
- Free travel on all urban and suburban transport on the territory of Ukraine or within the boundaries of the administrative district (depending on the preferential category);
- Free or 50% travel constantly, once a year or every two years (depending on the preferential category) to Ukraine and back by road or by air, rail or water transport;
- 50% discount fare on domestic routes by air, rail, river and road transport in the period from 1 October to 15 may.
- The right to priority, or priority to purchase tickets.
Categories of beneficiaries on which the decision will be taken by local authorities
- Disabled”Chernobyl” of the 1st and 2nd categories;
- Children-“Chernobyl” with a disability;
- Persons with disabilities of I and II groups, children with disabilities and persons accompanying disabled persons of group I and children with disabilities;
- Families with many children;
- Rehabilitated victims of repressions persons with disabilities or seniors;
- Persons who became disabled during military service;
- The soldiers, who are persons with disabilities as a result of hostilities, combatants and persons equated with them, as well as parents of soldiers killed, died or missing during the military service;
- Veterans of military service, veterans of internal Affairs agencies, veterans of the National police, veterans of the tax police, veterans of state fire Department, veterans of the State criminal-Executive service of Ukraine, veterans of service of civil protection, veterans of Public service of special communication and information protection of Ukraine
- Former underage prisoners of concentration camps, ghetto, other places of forced retention created by Nazi Germany and its allies during the Second world war, as well as children born in the specified places of compulsory containment of their parents;
- Spouses of dead victims of the Nazi prosecutions recognized during lifetime by persons with disabilities who have not entered into marriage again;
- Some of the other categories.
We emphasize that while this proposal, the bill passes, a public comment period, after which, obviously, will be submitted to Parliament.
photo from open sources