29 October 2018

Drozdova & Partners Law Firm assists a ChNPP disaster responder in reducing retirement age and obtaining pension

Persons statutorily awarded a Chernobyl NPP disaster responder status, who worked a certain number of days in the exclusion zone, are entitled to a reduced retirement age.

The Kyiv District Administrative Court has ordered that an office of the Ukrainian Pension Fund grant an old age pension to a person subject to reduction in the retirement age from the moment becoming entitled to a pension in accordance with Article 55 of the Ukrainian Chernobyl Responders Status and Social Security Act. Drozdova & Partners Law Firm experts represented the interests of the claimant in court.

The abovementioned rule provides that persons who worked in radiation-contaminated areas are granted pensions subject to a five to ten year lower retirement age depending on the length of their stay and dates on which they worked in the exclusion zone.

However, the Chornobyl NPP disaster responder was refused a pension on preferential terms involving a reduced retirement age.

When making that decision, the Pension Fund relied on the absence of information about the period of the pension applicant’s engagement and the populated area or facility where he performed works related to the management of consequences of the Chornobyl NNP disaster. However, an analysis of the documents submitted shows that it was not possible to determine the period of the person’s engagement in the exclusion zone, allegedly making impossible to determine the relevant reduction in the retirement age.

‘Our case was that the defendant actually confined the dispute to the determination of the status of the citizen suffered from the Chornobyl disaster, which falls beyond the defendant’s competence and is unacceptable,’ Drozdova & Partners Law Firm Senior Partner Mykhailo Honcharov comments on the case.

The expert mentioned that, after an analysis of legal provisions and the facts of the case, the court pointed out that persons statutorily granted a Chernobyl NPP disaster responder status, who worked a certain number of days in the exclusion zone, are entitled to a reduced retirement age.

The court ruled that a Chornobyl NNP disaster responder certificate should be definitive evidence of the person’s engagement in the measures taken to manage the consequences of the Chornobyl NNP disaster.

A statement issued by the Central Archive of the Belarussian Defence Ministry was submitted to show that the person had been engaged in the performance of works in the exclusion zone for the minimum required number of calendar days. The statement specifies that, among other things, the person was engaged in the decontamination of populated areas and localities, radiation reconnaissance and special decontamination of people and machinery both in the exclusion zone, including the 30-kilometer and 10-kilometer zones, and directly at the site of the ChNPP.

‘Unfortunately, government authorities look for any reasons (including baseless ones) to refuse payments when deciding on the granting of pensions and social payments. Getting wrong the government’s interest in budget savings, spending units violate statutorily guaranteed human rights,’ law firm’s Director Ms Olena Drozdova points out. ‘After a lengthy redress for rights violated and the court’s establishment of offences committed by government officials the most shocking thing is that nobody is held liable. This can be regarded as somewhat encouragement of further violations.’