Kyiv, April 12, 2016. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) who stopped receiving targeted financial assistance and pensions due to suspicion that their documents are forged or that they have returned back to the uncontrolled territories, may now restore their right to financial assistance from the state. “The only confirmation required is to personally come to the Pension Fund or to the Employment and Social Protection Directorate and report the new residential address – file a claim mentioning in it that the person resides on Ukraine-controlled territory and state the address. Payments restart immediately after,” reassured Olha Lishyk, Deputy Head of the Luhansk state civil-military administration on social and humanitarian issues while speaking via Skype at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) held in the framework of UCMC’s project “Spokesperson of peaceful life”.
Starting from February 2016 local-level employment and social protection directorates started expelling some IDPs from beneficiary lists based on unpublished instructions by the Ministry for Social Policy and according to the lists compiled by Ukraine’s Security and State Border Guard services. IDPs who returned to live on the temporary uncontrolled territories got into the above lists. They are not entitled to benefits for IDPs. Lishyk noted that right after the Ministry for Social Policy published a decree with the aforementioned instructions, the Employment and Social Protection Directorate (social security authority) and Pension Fund of Luhansk region released information statement about where and in how the IDPs should apply to restore their rights stipulated by law in case they had been included in the lists by mistake.
Olha Lishyk reported that as of April 1 Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) sent lists for check with over 125 thousand IDPs registered in Luhansk region. Information as to 109.5 thousand IDPs has been already checked. “Ninety-nine persons have not been identified: name, surname, patronymic and the birth date do not match, many surnames are repeated,” explained Lishyk. “Payment of social benefits has been suspended for 2 619 persons, 727 persons confirmed their residence place and payment has been restored for them.” According to the information by the Pension Fund as of April 4, payment of social benefits in Luhansk region has been suspended for about 86 thousand persons, over 10 200 of them had payment restored after they filed respective claims.
Lishyk noted that about 261 thousand internally displaced persons now reside in Luhansk region. Almost 31 thousand of them are of working age, about 21 thousand are children, 191 500 are pensioners and over seven thousand are disabled persons. All categories of IDPs are paid a total of UAH 71 million by the state. “Targeted assistance is currently received in time. There is a 6 weeks payment delay in Sievierodonetsk only. It is caused by the fact that the Employment and Social Protection Directorate cannot cope with processing of the information including repeated applications by IDPs,” explained Lishyk.
According to official count there are about two million internally displaced persons in Ukraine now. Unofficially this figure is one and a half – two times bigger.