Covid-19 support. Ombudsman renews alert in relation to unjustified exclusions of social protection

The Ombudsman once again addressed a letter to the Secretary of State for Social Security, drawing attention to the persistence of situations of exclusion from extraordinary social support, decreed in the framework of the Covid-19 pandemic, that generate unjustified social deprotection.

The insistence arises after the content of the first warning call, made in May 2021, signalling discrimination against the self-employed in access to subsidies for assistance to children and grandchildren in situations of prophylactic isolation, was not accepted. These subsidies continue to be awarded only to salaried workers. The Ombudsman reiterated that self-employed workers should not be discriminated against in their social protection, especially those who have had descendants in prophylactic isolation more than once, and that the correction of the interpretation conferred to the legal norm in question should be made retroactive to March 2020.

The Ombudsman also drew attention to two application questions that have not yet been resolved, which were the subject of a joint questionnaire addressed to the Institute of Social Security, I.P. and the Institute of Computing, I.P. The first is related to the submission and correction of applications for access to Covid-19 support measures in relation to previous months, given that many workers were unable to submit them successfully, with the understanding that extraordinary deadlines need to be set. The second issue concerns the reference month for extraordinary support for the reduction in economic activity of members of statutory bodies for the purpose of calculating the stabilisation supplement.

Lastly, the Ombudsman warned of the need to provide a response to the negative impact that the payment of exceptional family support (referred to in articles 23 to 25 of Decree-Law no. 10-A/2020) had on the contributory career of the respective beneficiaries, given that no provision had been made for registration of remunerations by equivalence in relation to the differential between the worker’s normal remuneration and the value of the support. This issue, which continues to give rise to a significant number of complaints, is still highly topical, given that workers who benefited from such support in the past, have been severely disadvantaged in terms of the values of the social benefits to which they have gained access in the meantime, and which they continue or will continue to gain access to.