Disabled Citizens’ Hotline. Problems and delays in the Social Benefit for Inclusion and medical certificates were among those that generated the most calls
To mark International Day of the Person with Disability, the Ombudsman presented a brief assessment of the activity developed by the telephone line especially dedicated to supporting these fellow citizens.
Throughout 2022, in the period between 1st January and 30th November, the Disabled Citizens’ Line received 502 calls, a number that exceeds the total received in the previous year.
Evolution of calls received by the Disabled Citizens’ Line (2019-2022*)
* till 30/11/2022
Social benefits continue to be the topic that motivates the greatest number of requests for support over the telephone and, within these, the Social Benefit for Inclusion (PSI) stands out. This benefit continues to generate doubts, with 32 requests for clarifications having been received in relation to delays in its payment, as well as the grounds for rejection by Social Security.
A concomitant issue in the calls received by the Line concerns the issuing or renewal of the Medical Certificate of Multipurpose Disability (AMIM), generally due to significant delays. Given that the law establishes that the PSI is only due from the month of delivery of the certification document, i.e. from the date of presentation of the AMIM, the manifest delay in the issue of these certificates by the medical boards of the Regional Health Administrations seriously compromised the effectiveness of this social benefit, a circumstance that led the Ombudsman to insist at the beginning of the year, to the Government, on the need to review the legal framework – which did not occur.
In 2022, issues related to delays in response from public entities, namely social security, to requests for support products, and requests for help with integration in residential structures for persons with disabilities and/or domiciliary support, continue to be significant.
The insufficient response capacity of the health system remains, on the other hand, one of the most recurrent themes in the calls received, due to difficulties in scheduling appointments, both at the health centre and specialised appointments at hospitals, delays in the response regarding the reimbursement of medication and issues regarding the right to non-urgent patient transport.