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Timely rehabilitation of severely handicapped child was endangered of delay

Deputy-Ombudsman rebukes the Social Insurance Institution, Kela
Kela, the Social Insurance Institution, has been reprimanded by Deputy-Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja because an application for rehabilitation treatment for a 6-year-old severely handicapped child took 99 days to process. 

In the view of the Deputy-Ombudsman, the delay jeopardised timely rehabilitation, something that is of major importance in the life of a developing child. The time taken to process the application was nearly three times the Kela target of 35 days.

Under the Act, a severely handicapped person, who has been granted a disability or treatment allowance at a supplemented or the highest rate can be eligible for Kela rehabilitation.
The applications for the disability allowance and rehabilitation were submitted on the same day, and the decision on the disability allowance arrived in 25 days. The rehabilitation decision could have been made at that point, but was not taken under processing despite the fact that the complainant requested on five occasions that it be expedited. 
In the assessment of Deputy-Ombudsman Pajuoja, the Kela personnel who processed the application for rehabilitation did not act with due care. 
"What was involved was not just an individual worker's oversight. The application was left in Kela's incoming basket for a long time, although requests for it to be expedited were made several times. The delay was not noticed by those responsible for waiting-list management, either."

Backlog does not justify delay

The Deputy-Ombudsman points out that the fact a backlog of rehabilitation applications has built up is no excuse for delay in processing applications. Kela must organise its work in a way that enables it to deal with applications without undue delay in all circumstances. 
"When the matter concerns a person in a vulnerable situation, such as a severely handicapped child, an authority must carefully assess whether the measures and solutions chosen accord with the child's interest and whether they will promote implementation of the child's rights. Timeliness of rehabilitation is of great importance in the life of a developing child", the Deputy-Ombudsman stressed.

The Kela insurance district stated in its report on the matter that in future, by means of work arrangements, it will ensure that rehabilitation applications are dealt with without undue delay

Additional info will be provided by Notary Eeva-Maria Tuominen, tel. +358 (0)9 - 432 3395.