Since the introduction of the quarantine, many internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in hromadas have faced the question of whether targeted assistance will continue. As many of it’s recipients are at risk and are not able to apply for it due to quarantine restrictions.
Fortunately, the state took into account the needs of the citizens in this matter – and regulations have been amended, according to which targeted assistance automatically continues for the period of quarantine and plus 30 days after the end of it.
During the quarantine legal norm is suspended, according to which an internally displaced person who resides in the temporarily occupied territory (TOT) for more than 60 days loses the right to receive benefits.
Therefore, if the internally displaced person’s circumstances have changed and he / she claims a larger amount of targeted assistance, then after the end of the quarantine such a person can submit documents for recalculation of the amount of benefits from the moment of new circumstances. However, this rule applies in both directions, i.e. if the circumstances changed during the quarantine and the amount of targeted assistance was more than it was appointed, then after the quarantine sum will be recalculated and the recipient will have to return the overpaid funds.
But there are certain downsides to this story. From the beginning of 2021, the rules for applying for targeted assistance have changed. Therefore, from January 1, the application together with the necessary documents is accepted only if it is sent by mail or in electronic form through the official website of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.
In addition, the profile resolution states that a person may submit documents to officials of the executive body of the village, settlement, city council of the relevant Amalgamated territorial community (hromada) or to the Administrative Service Center (ASC).
On paper, everything looks okay, but it is unclear how the procedure will actually work. After all, ASCs do not accept such documents, and in order to submit documents to the representatives of the hromada it is necessary for it to be connected to a special service “Social Hromada”.
According to the actual data, approximately 1,500 amalgamated territorial communities have been formed in Ukraine. Only up to 500 communities have been connected to the “Social Hromada” portal.
So, what do we have as a result?
The quarantine was extended until February 28, 2021, and from March 1, 2021 all applications for targeted assistance should be processed by hromada representatives in an electronic form and then sent to the Ministry of Social Policy for assistance accrual.
We will see decentralization as it is, in an action. Do members of local amalgamated communities actually care about vulnerable groups? Is the issue of IDPs on the agenda?
The answers to the above questions will depend on how quickly communities join the “Social Hromada” service and establish the process of assigning and providing social benefits.
We would like to advise internally displaced persons not to wait and start acting right now on their own. In order to do this, one needs to call the local authorities and ask if the amalgamated community is connected to the “Social Hromada” portal, what is the current procedure for assigning assistance and any other relevant questions.
“IDPs are already full members of the amalgamated communities. They were granted the right to participate in local elections and I am sure that the right to receive social benefits in communities will also be implemented in the future”
– said Anastasia Odintsova, legal analyst at the Right to Protection CF.
UNHCR Ukraine – Aгентство ООН у справах біженців в Україні