Israeli Insurance Institute, Ministries Delay Debate on Disability Reform

Knesset panel will only discuss reform allowing private physicians to determine fate of applicants' cases, in the fall

Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Zionist Union MK Miki Rosenthal, who submitted a private member's bill that calls for a reform in the National Insurance Institute process of determining the severity of disability and applicants' benefits, in the Knesset in April, 2017.
MK Rosenthal, whose private member's bill calls for a reform in the NII process of determining applicants' disabilities. The Knesset discussion has been put off.
Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron

The Knesset's Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday postponed until the fall discussion of a reform in the National Insurance Institute process for determining applicants’ level of disability and attending benefits.

The reform would make it unnecessary for applicants to appear before an NII medical panel as is done at present. Instead, the idea is to allow a physician – not the individual’s family doctor, but a specialist in the patient’s disability – to determine the severity of the disability and the allowances that accrue.

But since the Knesset breaks at the end of July for its summer recess until October, discussion of and a vote on this proposal isn’t likely to happen for at least half a year.

The delay is due to the fact that the NII itself opposes the reform, as do professional staff in the justice and finance ministries. They claim the proposal is too general and would give rise to situations that would be rife with conflicts of interest.

For its part, however, the Social Affairs Ministry backs the reform, whose details are set out in a private member’s bill submitted by MK Miki Rosenthal of Zionist Union. Rosenthal plans to continue to work on promoting the legislation until it comes before the ministerial panel again.

“Before the law comes up again at the ministerial committee, we will reopen the discussions with the NII and with Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz, who is giving substantial backing to this important move,” says Rosenthal. “The system has needed a serious shake-up for many years. The faster we finish the work, the more injustice will be prevented.”

Over the years thousands of complaints have been submitted about the way the NII medical committees handle applicants. Many claim that those seeking benefits are treated with suspicion and disrespect, and are often awarded meager allowances with no explanation. What’s more, complainants say, the current system whereby NII physicians determine disability levels and benefits also embodies an inherent conflict of interest: It is the NII that pays the allowances and hires the doctors who determine them, so there is much pressure to keep the benefits low.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer