Monday, November 23, 2009

National Insurance Institute in Israel won't recognize child with CP as disabled

From Ha'aretz in Israel:

The National Insurance Institute has refused to recognize a 2-year-old born with cerebral palsy as disabled - even though the right side of his body is paralyzed.

The child functions on par with his age group, the National Insurance Institute ruled, without noting the fact that he is paralyzed on one side.

The family appealed the institute's decision, and the Labor Tribunal ordered the institute to reconsider the case. The court instructed the institute to specifically address the child's disability and how it impacts him.

The institute's appeals committee subsequently determined that the child can do everything expected of a child his age, except crawl and pass objects from hand to hand. The appeals committee did recognize the toddler had a weak right hand and leg, but still did not recognize him as disabled for the purposes of receiving a disability allowance.

The toddler undergoes several treatments every day to improve his motor and developmental skills, and his parents pay for them out of their own pockets.

The Tel Aviv branch of the Justice Ministry's legal aid bureau, which is representing the family, says the tests normally used to judge whether a child functions are not relevant in this case, because they test functioning on either side of the body, while this child can use only his left side. The bureau said the committee had ignored the judge's order to discuss the child's disability and its impact on his functioning and development.

The committee's determination that the toddler cannot do only two out of 11 tasks is incorrect, the law bureau said, because the committee also noted that it could not carry out the entire examination because the child did not cooperate.

"We thought the committee should check the general situation of the toddler and not relate to one action or another that he could or couldn't carry out," said Becky Ader, head of the Tel Aviv legal bureau. Adler said other medical opinions had determined that the child suffers from serious developmental delays that the institute's committee did not take into consideration.

The National Insurance Institute said the toddler was examined a number of times by its committees and an appeals committee, composed of independent pediatricians, and that the committees found that the child could do most of the things expected of children his age and was therefore not eligible for an allowance.