A report compiled by the National Insurance Institute and submitted to the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Monday showed that only people with the highest levels of disability benefit significantly from hiring a consulting company to help them with their claims.
The committee met to discuss the consequences of the so-called Livnat Poran law, named after a well-known Israeli disability claims consultancy . The law, passed in July 2015, caps the fees that a disability lawyer or consulting firm can charge for representing an individual submitting a disability claim with the National Insurance Institute.
The NII study found that the average claimant with a disability rating of 90% or above who used the services of a consulting firm received 200 to 250 shekels ($55 to $68) more a month than individuals who filed their own claims. For insureds with lower disability levels the differences were negligible, and sometimes individuals without representation received even more. These outside consultants notably charge substantial fees for their services.
A survey of the average disability allowance received by individuals using representation found that some 11,800 people received an average of 3,087 shekels a month. In contrast, around 83,000 people who had no representation received a monthly average of 3,066 shekels. The gaps, as noted were most pronounced among the highest disability rating category.
Representatives of the consulting companies disputed the data, casting doubts on the methodology, which they said was problematic.
MK Miki Rosental, who called for the meeting, said, “The statistics prove that representation by an agent — lawyers, Livnat Poran and the like — does not increase the payment.” He added that he recommends to the public not to use agents because they offer no added value. “All that the companies for suing for rights and agents of the like do is draw a fat check from the disability pay of individuals,” he said, “It is important to understand that it simply isn’t worth going to those representatives. It is worthwhile going alone to the National Insurance Institute, at least in the first stage. One can always try again later to go through an agent.”
A National Insurance Institute representative commented in the meeting, “The gap in disability pay is less than half a percent for the ones with representation.” NII representatives stressed that there has been no decline in the number of disability claims or in the amount of disability benefits issued since the law came into force.
It is noteworthy that NII representatives, who prepared the report, have a significant interest in getting rid of agents.
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