Center for the Defence of the Individual - After a two-year legal battle: A disabled Palestinian child will be recognized as deaf by the National Insurance Institute
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

After a two-year legal battle: A disabled Palestinian child will be recognized as deaf by the National Insurance Institute

In May of 2009, a Palestinian family from East Jerusalem contacted the National Insurance Institute (NII) asking to receive disability benefits for their eight-year-old son. The NII determined that the child was suffering from a disability at a rate of 50% and required constant care and provided the parents with disability benefits accordingly.

Over the course of that year, the child’s condition deteriorated. The family contacted the NII once again for reassessment of the disability rate and provided test results indicating increased hearing loss. The child was summoned to appear before a NII medical committee which determined that there was no need to increase the child’s disability benefit. The reason provided was that it was impossible to determine that the child had a hearing impairment as he did not cooperate during the examination.

In early 2010, the mother contacted HaMoked and we appealed the NII’s decision to the Labor Court on her behalf. HaMoked argued that the child’s alleged lack of cooperation was the result of his cognitive disabilities and noted that the committee should have considered the earlier test results which indicated an increased hearing loss. HaMoked also stressed that an alternative auditory test which does not require the test subject’s cooperation was available and suggested the NII use it in order to determine the disability rate.

Following the appeal, the child’s case was returned to the NII for reassessment, but the earlier scenario was repeated. The committee gave the child the same test and decided once again not to change the disability rate as the child “did not cooperate”.

On November 24, 2010, HaMoked filed another appeal against the NII’s decision. HaMoked stressed that although in some cases lack of cooperation by the applicant was a legitimate consideration, in this case, the committee should have considered the child’s condition and acknowledge that his “lack of cooperation” was a result of his cognitive disability. HaMoked reiterated that the alternative test could reveal the child’s condition without his cooperation and asked that the NII reexamine the child in order to assess his hearing loss.

Close to a year after the appeal was filed, the parties agreed to have the child’s case returned to the medical committee for the third time, but this time, the committee would address the findings of the alternative hearing test.

In January 2012, after an additional test conducted by the medical committee, the NII recognized the child as hearing impaired and gave the family the benefits to which it is entitled under the law. Two full years of legal activity, including two court appeals, three medical committee sessions and repeated medical exams were required to reach this point. These could all have been spared had the NII given the disabled child the suitable alternative test in the first place.

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