Will people lose their social security disability

Minimum income: social security

With the ministerial draft, with which a federal law on the principles of social assistance (Social Assistance Basic Law) and a federal law on nationwide statistics on social assistance benefits (Social Assistance Statistics Law) are being enacted, the Federal Government is striving to achieve the following goals:

  • Redesign and nationwide harmonization of minimum income and open social assistance (social assistance)
  • Greater integration of recipients of social assistance into the labor market
  • Curbing immigration into the Austrian social system
  • Improvement and realignment of the statistics on social assistance

This is intended to create a basic federal law in the area of ​​the poor, moreover, the establishment of increased work incentives for recipients of social assistance and qualification is sought, furthermore there are higher restrictions on access to (full) social assistance for new immigrants and the establishment of new statistics for Social assistance provided on an individual basis.

The new regulation of the so-called Midest protection should include cash and non-cash benefits that are granted to support general livelihoods and housing needs. In order to achieve these goals, state legislation must provide for the following measures:

  • Obligation of the federal states to collect and transmit a range of data on recipients of social assistance benefits to the federal government in order to achieve the necessary data transparency.
  • Nationwide ensuring of an effective control and sanction system through state legislation. In the event of unlawful purchase, improper use of the service, refusal to work and integration as well as proven illegal work, effective sanctions, reductions or complete cessation and reclamation of the service must be provided.

According to the draft, social assistance benefits are only granted to people who are affected by a social emergency and who are willing to endeavor to avert, alleviate or overcome this emergency. Social assistance benefits are subsidiary and are only granted to the extent that the need cannot be covered by the beneficiary's own resources or by third-party benefits due and collectible. The services must be made dependent on the willingness to use one's own workforce or on active integration services (integration agreement, value courses, German courses, cultural techniques). Social assistance benefits are to be provided as benefits in kind, insofar as they can be expected to make the achievement of the performance targets more efficient. Housing benefits are to be provided in the form of benefits in kind whenever possible. They are not to be granted to persons without actual residence in the federal territory, asylum seekers, persons entitled to subsidiary protection and persons obliged to leave the country. For persons from third countries and from member states of the European Union, they are only granted after a five-year stay in Austria, subject to special features of Union law.

ÖBR statement on the individual regulations

Many organizations participate in the development of the law by giving statements on the draft of the Basic Social Welfare Act. In its statement, the Austrian Council for the Disabled (ÖBR) pointed to the necessary changes in the draft law on the Basic Law on Social Welfare.

Concrete change aspects of the ÖBR

  • The central demand is the creation of a community of needs for people with disabilities. Many people with disabilities live, for example, in assisted living communities or with parents and siblings. The cap on social assistance for household communities is therefore problematic for people with disabilities. The Austrian Disability Council demands that people with disabilities are considered to be a community of needs of their own, regardless of who they live with.

  • The monthly grant of around EUR 155.00 was presented as an improvement for people with disabilities. However, this is a “CAN” provision. The federal states are not obliged to grant this grant. In order to create fair and equal conditions for all people with disabilities in Austria, this should be changed to a "MUST-clause".

  • Proof of language competence is not possible for some people with disabilities. Consequently, for deaf people or people with severe communication restrictions due to a disability or mental illness, proof must be refrained and full receipt of social assistance including a work qualification bonus should be granted.

  • According to the draft law, benefits from third parties (e.g. maintenance) are offset against social assistance. This means that people with disabilities would have to sue their parents in order to receive social assistance. This compulsion to bring legal action by parents must be eliminated in the draft law.

Statement in detail

The ÖBR statement states that the ministerial draft does not contain any defined upper limits that the state legislators can fall below. In the draft, free amounts are introduced, which - depending on the decision of the state legislature - can be granted, but do not have to be. The resulting inequalities between the federal states contradict the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-CRPD), which Austria ratified in 2008.

The ÖBR warns that persistent poverty has a negative impact on health and calls for the draft assessment to be revised so that uniform and needs-based minimum standards are defined for the whole of Austria, which the state legislators may only exceed, but not fall below.

Furthermore, the ÖBR requests that people with disabilities, for whom a change in their impairment is not expected, refrain from the 12-month time limit for social assistance and grant them unlimited social assistance.

Neither the text of the law nor the explanations make it clear whether the state legislators are entitled to benefit communities that are not
complete household community. However, people with disabilities often have to live with family members in a household or in an assisted living community even after they are minors because they are dependent on support. If people with disabilities were not recognized as their own community of needs, the cap of Section 5 (4) would apply and they would lose the necessary funds that they need for a self-determined life.

In addition, the additional amount due to the disability would no longer be available in full or not at all, because it would flow into the sum of the cash benefits of all persons who are of legal age and would then be divided or reduced equally among all. Therefore, the Austrian Disability Council calls for a corresponding definition of the community of need for people with disabilities to be included in the legal text; See, for example, Section 7, Paragraph 2, Item 5 of the WMG: “Adults over the age of 25 and persons of legal age who are permanently unable to work form their own community of needs, even if they live in the apartment with a parent or grandparent”.

Re Section 5 Paragraph 2 Item 3 and Paragraph 3:
The maximum rates for minors in no way cover the real needs of children without disabilities, and certainly not those of children with disabilities. It is incomprehensible why the present draft deliberately did not attempt to set minimum standards for children. In the explanations it is stated that working parents also have to limit themselves in order to meet their maintenance obligations. Parents with disabilities who receive social assistance and who also have to bear a high level of financial expense to cover their disability-related additional expenses simply cannot limit themselves further.
Although the draft law allows an unofficial amount of 18% for children with disabilities, the sum of the benefits according to Paragraph 3 must be divided equally between all children. As a result, however, the children with disabilities lose the additional amount at least partially. The Austrian Disability Council therefore calls for this additional amount for children with disabilities in the amount of 18% to be excluded from the equal distribution of the total amount in Paragraph 3 and to adjust the reference rates to the actual cost of living of children.

On § 5 Paragraph 2 Item 5:
The Austrian Disability Council requests that the draft assessment be reformulated in such a way that people with disabilities have a legal right to the additional amount of 18% that they receive due to their disability.

In relation to Section 5, Paragraph 6, Item 3:
In practice, due to the restrictive judicature of the highest court, it is very difficult for children with disabilities to reach care allowance level 3. So that the caregiving relatives are still exempt from the permanent willingness to use their own labor, based on the regulation of care leave in § 14 c AVRAG, to change the text of the law so that this exception applies to the care of underage relatives from care allowance level 1 onwards.

On § 5 Paragraph 6 Z 7:
According to this provision, the permanent willingness to use the labor is to be refrained from if there is disability within the meaning of Section 255 (3) ASVG. However, it is necessary to exclude all people with health impairments or disabilities, if they are unable to work, from the willingness to use the labor and not only the restricted group of people according to § 255 Abs 3 ASVG. In addition, this narrow definition of disability does not correspond to the definition of § 8 AlVG, although this is intended according to the explanations. The Austrian Disability Council requests that the draft law be amended as follows:
"(6) ... The employability on the Austrian labor market and the permanent willingness to use their labor (Section 3, Paragraph 4) should be waived for persons who [...] 7. are unable to work or are unable to work or [...]"

Re Section 5 Paragraph 7:
This paragraph stipulates that appropriate language skills in German or English must be proven in order to be able to be employed on the Austrian labor market. Evidence can be provided by completing compulsory schooling or by speaking to the authorities personally. Due to the lack of equal opportunities in the education system, people with disabilities often do not have a compulsory school diploma and are therefore dependent on proof through a personal interview.

Since the proof of language proficiency must be provided in a spoken language, this option is available to deaf and highly hard-of-hearing people
Mother tongue is Austrian sign language, not open. Even people who due to their physical disability (for example
spastic paralysis, MS, ALS) or cognitive impairment have severe communication impairments or are non-verbal, as well as deafblind
People who cannot take a language test due to a psycho-social illness or an autism spectrum disorder are simply not able to provide proof of language proficiency by speaking to the authorities.
This would mean that the above-mentioned groups of people would not be entitled to the work qualification bonus if they had neither
Have a compulsory school diploma (which is often the case) and still meet the requirements of Section 5, Paragraph 6 (especially Z 7). In order to meet the realities of life for people with disabilities, the Austrian Disability Council demands that the text of the law stipulate that people with disabilities or psycho-social illnesses who are unable to provide a language certificate due to their impairment are excluded from the language test and still have a claim have the job qualification bonus.

To § 6:
It is incomprehensible why the federal government intervenes in the autonomy of the states on this point and prohibits them from granting housing subsidies, heating cost subsidies or other benefits to meet the housing needs of recipients of social assistance. Firstly, this constitutes a violation of the system in the draft law, since the rest of the draft tries not to stipulate any specific obligations for the federal states, but only to create a framework. Second, the elimination of such benefits (depending on the federal state) can lead to a worsening of the situation, especially for people with disabilities. The Austrian Disability Council therefore demands that the federal states continue to grant these additional benefits to recipients of social assistance. Neither the text of the law nor the explanations make it clear whether the state legislators are entitled to provide for benefit communities that do not correspond to the entire household community. However, people with disabilities often have to live with family members in a household or in an assisted living community even after they are minors because they are dependent on support. However, if people with disabilities were not recognized as their own community of needs, the cap of Section 5 (4) would apply and
they would thus lose the necessary funds that they need for a self-determined life.

To § 7:
This section stipulates the crediting of third-party services. In this context, it must be mentioned that people with disabilities who have an increased need for support often do not have the ability to maintain themselves in accordance with Section 231 of the Austrian Civil Code (ABGB) and so their parents are responsible for their lifelong maintenance. The practice based on the current legal situation, which in almost all federal states provides for an obligation to pursue legal claims against third parties, is to the effect that people with disabilities are encouraged by the authorities to sue their relatives who are eligible for a possible maintenance obligation.
This approach presents people with disabilities, especially people with psycho-social illnesses, with an almost impossible task. In the past, the family and existential pressure built up as a result has often led people with disabilities to refrain from filing the required lawsuit against their parents and thus waived their financial security for a self-determined life.
In order to prevent such results, the Austrian Disability Council calls for the draft law to be amended in such a way that the pursuit of maintenance claims is unreasonable in whole or at least from a certain age limit (except for claims that have already been titled).

Section 7 (8):
Likewise, people with disabilities often do not have the opportunity to build up a fortune from their own earned income. Most of the time, they have to laboriously save up small amounts over the years. At the same time, they often have to bear high costs due to disabilities, e.g. for conversions or aids. This year-long saving for disability-related expenses would make it impossible to set off assets.
Therefore, the Austrian Disability Council demands that the entire assets of people with disabilities are excluded from the crediting.

Source: ÖBR statements on the Basic Law on Social Welfare