“It is essential to establish a well-organised welfare system, with appropriate capacities, and entitlements and services have to be available to everyone, including people living in rural and isolated areas and on the islands. Allowances should ensure a significant decrease in poverty or facilitate coming out of poverty, while the reform should focus on citizens who are beneficiaries of the social welfare system,” Šimonović Einwalter says in her comments on the social welfare bill.
She welcomes the positive changes which include a guaranteed minimum allowance, accommodation and home help for all beneficiaries of welfare assistance. She also welcomes the increased penalties for anyone providing services for the elderly who have violated the law.
Necessary to be precise with legal provisions
Šimonović Einwalter says that it is important for legal provisions to be as precise as possible so that in practice they are interpreted correctly and equally.
“It is necessary to list welfare entitlements to ensure legal security, but also so they are visible, particularly to beneficiaries in the system,” she says.
She believes that the bill needs to significantly relieve employees at welfare centres and decrease the number of their public powers, particularly for those who are not directly tied to the welfare system.
She says that centres currently have 145 powers that are not sufficiently directed to the needs of beneficiaries. “Relieving them would ensure timely and quality protection for beneficiaries with regard to preventing the tragedies that we have unfortunately witnessed,” she said.
Šimonović Einwalter lists a series of proposals to improve the bill.
“Considering the novelty the bill brings related to establishing a social welfare institute, it is particularly important to investigate the possible effects of centralising the system and changing the status of welfare centres, as well as to hold additional consultations on these proposals,” she says.
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