The work ability reform: an inside view

There was the work ability reform in Estonia, it started working since 01.01.2017. From the beginning of this year every person, who has a partial disability, must correspond to the conditions of activity (to work, study or be registered as unemployed) to receive the aid.

I decided to learn about people with partial disability, how they live now, how their life changed, what do they think about this reform.

Generally, I contacted people, who have the partial disability due to psychiatric disorders because it is connected to my background (I worked as a clinical psychologist in psychoneurological dispensary for several years).

As a person and as a specialist I think this reform is great (at least for people, who have psychiatric disorders), but it still has problems, which are worth paying attention to and which should be solved.

As a result of this short research, I got information about blind sides of the reform. Currently, there are such problems as lack of jobs that meet the needs of partially disabled people and an overestimation of work ability.

The aim of my work is to pay attention to this problem. I know, that alone I can’t solve any problem, but I believe, that there are many people, who are not indifferent to others. The reason why we shouldn’t be indifferent is the people about whom you read are not abstract and their stories are real.

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M., partially disabled, unemployed: As soon as the reform took place, I was immediately sent to the labor exchange. There I was offered to study at first and a traineeship after studying. I rate the reform positively because to stay at home is only to worsen your health, judging by my experience.
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D., partially disabled, employed: I rate the reform as positive because they partially raised the allowance they paid. Personally, I get as much as I received, and thanks for that.
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M., partially disabled, employed: I do not like the fact that people with partial disability are forced to look for work, because places where you can get a part-time job, for example, are not so plenty. I got a job by pulling some strings.
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A., the social worker: For our contingent, this is a great stress. People are afraid that in financial terms their situation can become worse. Patients are sometimes overestimated in terms of their working abilities during examinations (completely disabled persons are assessed as partially disabled). Another problem is a long queue for examination. However, the criteria for obtaining a partial disablement have become softer.
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O., partially disabled, employed: At the moment I don’t feel a strong change, but they are making calculations different somehow. I think people always try to change something for the better.

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