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  2. Syktyvkar resident demanded to repeal the republican law on social assistance

Syktyvkar resident demanded to repeal the republican law on social assistance

The plaintiff believes that the Komi government saves on the poor. Defendants deny this

by Kirill Shein
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Yuri Testin, whose family was considered poor for several years, applied for social benefits several times, but did not receive them. He believes that he was refused due to amendments to the regional law, which operated in Komi from 2016 onwards. Testin filed a lawsuit against the Komi government. He demands repealing the republican law No. 56 "On state social assistance", since he believes that the regional normative act contradicts the federal one, and this allows the government to save on socially unprotected families. The government denies this. On June 20, the lawsuit is heard by the Komi Supreme Court. Correspondent of «7x7» visited the meeting.


What happened

Family of Yuri Testin received the status of poor in 2014. According to the federal law, they were supposed to receive help in the form of cash payments, but it did not happen. In 2017, the family again received the status of poor, but they did not get money from the state. The head of the family Yuri Testin appealed to the prosecutor's office. There he was informed that he was not receiving funds due to the provisions of the republican law — it was contradicting federal legislation on the issue of granting benefits. Then, Testin decided to get the to repeal the republican law in court.


Plaintiff’s arguments

Under federal law, low-income families who, for reasons beyond their control, have a per capita income below the subsistence minimum in the region may be considered as welfare recipients. The same rule is prescribed in the republican law. Since April 1, 2018 the average subsistence minimum is 12539 rubles per month.

But the benefits in the republic are prescribed those low-income families whose average per capita income is below the guaranteed cash income. The amount of this benefit is equal to the difference between guaranteed and average per capita income. Since April 1, 2018, the average amount of guaranteed cash income is 2,663 rubles.

The father of a low-income family, Yuri Testin, accused the Komi government of violating federal legislation and "hiding" budget money for the poor. He argues that the poor in the republic do not receive the assistance that they are provided under the Russian law. He attributed this to the fact that the republic, in addition to the subsistence minimum, uses such a concept as a guaranteed per capita cash income. Because of this, the number of those who can receive benefits has decreased in the region.

According to Yuri Testin, every Russian subject has the right to determine its own social assistance, conditions and procedure for receiving it, but it can not change or tighten the circle of needy people. Therefore, he demanded the abolition of the existing norm, because it violates the rights of all other poor people.

"Money is not transferred to us, which means it is hidden," Yuri Testin said in court.


Respondents’ position

The meeting of the court involved representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Protection, the Ministry of Finance, the administration of the Komi head and the consultant of the Republican State Council.

According to the representatives of the head, the norm of the republican law can not be abolished, since this will affect the life of the poor. The benefits are intended not only for the low-income, but families with children, and for many of them this is the only source of income.

Lawyers state that the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection can not leave the poor without support: today, 3,500 poor families receive benefits. But there are other categories and types of social assistance: benefits for travel, medicines, education and food, there are benefits for pensioners, invalids, nursing mothers. At the same time, the representatives of the head could not say how many Komi residents receive any payments or other state assistance and in what form.

At the meeting, it was reported that in the republic the recipients of social assistance are selected according to the criterion of need: the assistance is provided to those who need it more.

"We work on the principle of targeting and justice," adviser of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection Ekaterina Schmidt informed. "Each person receives that help, which will allow him to escape a difficult life situation."

However, none of the representatives could not answer, how these people are chosen and in which regional documents this criterion of need is regulated.

Consultant expert of the State Council Svetlana Tsvettsikh said that in the Komi legislation there are no contradictions to federal laws and it is not necessary to cancel the existing norm.


The court's decision

The judge suggested Yuri Testin to expand the claim — to challenge not only the third article of the republican law, which deals with the amount of payments, but also the second, which deals with the types of benefits. The plaintiff stated that he was not going to dispute the amount, he was worried about how the republic allocates benefits.

The judge suspended the meeting till June 26.


On the principle of need

in 2015, the principles of need were introduced in Komi in the provision of social support measures, although there was no precise definition of this term in either Russian or republican legislation. Under the criteria of need can be understood as the level of money income, health, orphanhood, сertain age and status. In most countries, where the principle of targeting and needs is being implemented, it means a certain level of income. If a person's income is below a certain amount, then he is considered to be in need of state assistance and receives it. In Komi, this criterion was taken as the basis.

As a result of the introduction of the principle of need, the State Council adopted amendments to the republican law that replaced social assistance measures for housing and utilities payments for a monthly cash payment in a fixed amount. The amounts were calculated for each preferential category, taking into account where people live — in the northern or southern regions. Some beneficiaries profited, others, on the contrary, have started paying more for their housing services.

On February 1, 2017, Law No. 144-RL began to operate in Komi. It limited the number of recipients of compensation for parental fees for a kindergarten. Families whose total income does not exceed one and a half times the subsistence level received compensation.


Arbitrage practice

Some beneficiaries and many parents were unhappy with the innovations. They appealed to the courts, but they lost. In March 2016, the Constitutional Court of Komi recognized as legitimate the replacement of social support measures for fixed payments to beneficiaries. In April, the Constitutional Court decided that the replacement of benefits for labor veterans for monthly payments is also not inconsistent with the law. Exactly the same decision the court adopted and in March 2017, but in relation to another category of beneficiaries — the repressed.

In all cases, the court justified the decision by the fact that the Republic of Komi does not abandon its previous commitments and continues to support different categories of beneficiaries, based on the amount of income.

In March 2017, lawyer Roman Koidan appealed in court the law on compensation for kindergarten №144-RL. In May 2017, the Komi Supreme Court found the law contradicting federal legislation. The State Council of the Republic appealed this decision. In July, the judge, preparing the case for sending to Moscow, corrected misspelling and replaced the words "contradicting federal legislation" with "inoperative". In October, the Russian Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Komi Supreme Court to invalidate the republican law No. 144-RL. The case was started from the very beginning.

In December 2017, the Komi Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit of Roman Koidan. The lawyer appealed. But in April 2018, the Supreme Court of Russia upheld the decision of the Supreme Court.

Karina Zabolotnaya, Igor Sokolov, «7x7»


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