Almost 24 years after the Homeland war ended, Croatia has 1,687 new war veterans. New veterans have been able to prove they should be recognised as such nearly a quarter of a century after the end of the war due to the new War Veterans Act, which has reopened the possibility of acquiring the status, even though the earlier deadline was 2009. The number of new veterans is expected to grow further because the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior have received a total of 10,600 requests for recognition of this status, reports Novi List on May 10, 2019.
The Ministry of Defense has announced that it has received a total of 9,529 requests by May 3. Out of this, 2,579 applications have been processed, and 1,367 have been accepted. This means that the remaining 1,382 claims have been declined, i.e. in these cases, citizens have failed to prove that they should get the war veteran status. The Interior Ministry announced it had received 1,071 requests. “The status has been confirmed for 320 people, while 391 requests have been denied. Other claims are still being processed,” said the ministry.
The two ministries have processed 3,470 of the 10,600 requests so far, which is slightly more than one-third. So far, 47.3 per cent of the claims has been accepted, while slightly more than half have been rejected, which means that, if the ratio is maintained, Croatia could eventually have about five thousand new war veterans. Given that claims can still be filed, this will not be the final number.
When the government passed the new law in December 2017, and Veterans Affairs Minister Tomo Medved reclassified the War Veterans Register, it included 505,694 veterans, but that number has now grown by 1,687.
The new law foresees that the war veteran status, in addition to members of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard, the Croatian Army, officials of the Defence Ministry, police officers, officials of the Interior Ministry, and the Croatian Defense Forces, “can be recognised for members of the People Protection units, If they were engaged for at least 100 days in the period from July 30 1991, to December 31 1991.”
Citizens who have taken advantage of this opportunity and ensured the war veteran status in the latest wave may expect certain benefits when it comes to their everyday life, i.e. the right to health care and to a privileged position in getting a job in state services. If they become unemployed, they have the right to special compensation. The law which entered into force in 2018 has also reduced the retirement age for veterans. They also have a minimum guaranteed pension which is higher than the one for other retired citizens.
Translated from Novi List (reported by Jagoda Marić).
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