Public Defender Terms Non-consideration of Needs of Person with Disabilities during Appointment of Social Assistance as Discrimination
On May 4, 2018, the Public Defender of Georgia appealed to the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia with a recommendation to eliminate discrimination on the ground of disability.
The Public Defender learned from the statement of the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association that an authorized representative of the Social Service Agency evaluated the socio-economic situation of a blind, socially vulnerable person several times. The beneficiary was unable to personally get acquainted with the declaration drawn up by a social worker, due to which, the social worker himself/herself read the information included in the declaration to the person with disability. According to the applicant, the authorized representative of the Agency did not fully fill in the declaration and provided false information to the Agency, as a result of which, the Director of the Social Service Agency canceled the applicant’s registration in the database of socially vulnerable families by his order of 10 July 2017.
The Public Defender considers that the Order No141/N of the Minister of Labuor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, which determines the rules of evaluation of socio-economic situation of socially vulnerable families, does not define how declarations should be introduced to those who are unable to read documents for objective reasons.
In the recommendation, the Public Defender notes that persons with sight problems should be able to get involved in the decision-making process related to them and should not depend on other persons, only due to the fact that certain documentation is not available in Braille or through other alternative technical means.
Keeping the above in mind, the Public Defender calls on the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs to make declarations on social situation of vulnerable families available in Braille or through other alternative technical means and make relevant amendments to the Order N141/N of the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. In addition, the Public Defender recommended the Ministry to make any kind of information related to social/health care programs available for persons with disabilities in Braille, gesture language, augmentative and alternative communication and/or through other available means.