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In Bavaria, 1.2 million people have a severely handicapped ID card - over nine percent of the population. Many more people would probably be entitled to it. Because illnesses such as migraines, tinnitus or rheumatism can also represent severe disabilities. Health! explains who is considered to be severely disabled, what compensation for disadvantages can expect and why there is often frustration and disappointment when submitting an application.
From: Carolin Lorenz
Susanne Noll was diagnosed with cervical cancer a good year ago. A tumor was removed from her in a major operation.
"In April the chemo-chemo started. In good German: radiation from the outside and chemotherapy. And in May of last year I finished the medical treatment as such for the first time."
Susanne Noll, cancer patient
Jacqueline Fritz has a mission: she wants to go on a ski tour at the end of winter. That's why she learns to ski. On one leg.
"I've been one-legged since a sports accident: twisted ankle, surgery, complications. After eight years of fighting, the leg had to be removed."
Jacqueline Fritz, leg amputee athlete
The two women and their stories are different, but they have something in common: Both are recognized as severely disabled. Like 1.22 million people in Bavaria.
What is a severe disability?
How severe a disability is is expressed in social law with the degree of disability (GdB) and is determined in steps of ten. A GdB of 20 is considered a disability, a GdB of 50 and more as a severe disability.
In addition, the following criteria must apply: The state of health differs from the state typical for the age. Participation in society is impaired. And: The condition must last longer than six months - Source: §2 SGB IX.
How do I apply for a disabled person's pass?
The application can be completed online or printed out on the Internet. It is important that a medical report is included for each illness or restriction that is listed. As many current and meaningful findings and medical reports as possible help those in charge at the Bavarian Family and Social Center,short ZBFS to determine the state of health.
Resident doctors are obliged to hand over copies of the documents to the patients. Anyone who cannot enclose all of the findings must indicate the treating doctors and release them from their obligation to maintain confidentiality so that the staff at the ZBFS can request the findings. This often delays the processing of the application. A passport photo should also be enclosed with the application. If the severe disability is determined, the ID will come with the positive decision.
Help with filling out the form is available from social associations such as the VdK (Association of War Disabled, War Survivors and Social Pensioners in Germany) or in the service centers of the pension offices.
Examples of disadvantage compensation through a severely handicapped ID card
"When I found out that I could apply for a severely handicapped ID card, I thought as an amateur, oh, a severely handicapped ID card, you can now use public transport for free or park your car in the parking lot. But that's not all the case."
Susanne Noll, cancer patient
In addition to the degree of disability, you can also apply for a mark, for example the mark aG for an extraordinary walking disability or the mark Bl for blindness. GdB and symbols determine the right to compensation for disadvantages that disabled people have by law in order to be able to participate as well as possible in social life. This includes, for example: A special protection against dismissal, an extra week of vacation, tax allowances or right of way when visiting the authorities.
Employers of severely disabled people can receive benefits from the integration office in order to design the workplace as required, for example with wheelchair ramps or special keyboards. In addition, severely disabled people with the mark RF (radio) can apply for a reduction in the radio license fee. A number of swimming pools and museums voluntarily give discounts to severely disabled people.
Who can park in a disabled parking space?
Jacqueline Fritz is unable to walk, the mark G is entered on her ID card. Nevertheless, she is denied the disabled parking space at the ski lift: She does not have the necessary parking permit. Only people with an extraordinary walking disability (aG) get it. The benchmark is people in wheelchairs or with two amputated lower legs. One leg is not enough.
"Unfortunately, I have to park normally because I am not disabled enough to be allowed to park in a disabled parking space."
Jacqueline Fritz has a degree of disability of 70. And she is very athletic. Whoever sees Jacqueline plummeting down the ski slope wonders: Why does she need an extra parking space in front of the supermarket? A few more meters shouldn't be a problem.
"I'm just as handicapped as other people who have the same injury. I have to wear something, I go shopping. It is difficult with crutches in the snow. So it would of course be nice to have a parking permit and to park right in front can make things easier for oneself. "
Who decides on the recognition of the severe disability?
Whether there is a disability and how severe it is is determined by the Center for Family and Social Affairs (ZBFS), also known as the pension office. Responsibility depends on the administrative district.
Through the hands of Manfred Eichmeier and his employees at the ZBFS Bayreuth, around 50 files per person with applications for ID cards for the severely handicapped are sent for evaluation. In 2018, a total of 240,000 people across Bavaria submitted an application to determine their disability.
"We see a wide variety of health disorders in the application process. There are evaluation suggestions for the various health disorders. Some are fixed, for example the loss of an eye requires a GdB of 30. Then there are also evaluation suggestions for which a certain framework is provided."
Manfred Eichmeier, Team Leader Disability Law at the ZBFS Bayreuth
The evaluation proposals, which the medical staff at the ZBFS must adhere to, are clearly defined in the health care principles. Not only the diagnoses are taken into account, but the effects of illnesses on the patient's life. Because decisions at the ZBFS are mainly based on the files, it can happen that patients are not satisfied with the decision of the office.
"I can have this decision checked in the opposition procedure. That means, I can again present my arguments why I am of the opinion that this decision of the authority is wrong."
Andreas Wecks, specialist lawyer for social law in Nuremberg
Limitations are subjective and everyone is different
The degree of disability is not determined by a specific diagnosis, but by the limitation imposed by the disease. The occupation does not play a role in the assessment because the pension insurance or professional associations are responsible here.
"Let's take a bricklayer as an example. He gets a GdB of 20 after a herniated disc. But he feels severely impaired. Conversely, it may be that one can continue to do his job despite the most severe impairment. Think of Bundestag President Schäuble, who sits in a wheelchair and continues to work. "
Manfred Eichmeier, has been working in the field of severely handicapped law for 20 years
Severe disability at work
Employers with more than 20 employees are obliged to fill at least five percent of their jobs with severely disabled people. If they do not do this, they have to pay a compensation levy that finances special services for severely disabled people.
Severely disabled people are not obliged to declare their disability at work. Information is only required if the disability has a direct impact on work.
Susanne Noll works at the employment agency. In a few weeks she will start again with a reintegration and three hours a day. Thanks to her severely handicapped ID, she has more vacation days, does not have to work overtime and enjoys greater protection against dismissal. But:
"I would very much like to do without the severely handicapped ID card and the illness. But now I have this illness. And if the welfare state wants to compensate me for any disadvantages, then I will gladly take advantage of it."
If the disability is permanent, as in the case of an amputation, the severely handicapped ID card is valid for an indefinite period. In the case of cancer, it is common for the ID to be issued for a limited period of time.
"After five years it will be checked whether I still have any impairments and if not, then it will go away again and that's a good thing!"
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