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Ukrainian woman from Crimea won the court case concerning baby bonus

Oksana, a resident of Simferopol, as well as thousands of other mothers, who moved from the occupied territory, cannot receive baby bonuses, paid by the state.

Ivan and Varvara were born on April 30, 2014. On that day, the “Crimean Prosecutor’s Office” ordered to remove the Ukrainian flag from the Mejlis building, the Russians began to travel to Crimea through Kerch, and the queue of cars on the border with Crimea stretched for four kilometers. Oksana, mother of the babies, received an invalid certificate of birth of children from the occupation authorities. She was planning to leave the peninsula and to live in the free country. But how to leave Crimea with two newly born children? And the main question is where to go?

Oksana managed to get to the controlled territory, namely to Kyiv, only two years later. She immediately filed two applications for establishing the facts of the birth of children to the Obolon District Court of Kyiv. Three days later he received legal documents.

It is very difficult to live in Kyiv without your own home and good work and with two children. Four months later, Oksana appealed to the state with the application concerning payment of maternity allowance. The Labor and Social Protection Office of Shevchenkivskyi District State Administration of Kyiv delayed the whole six months and eventually refused. The seventh part of Article 11 of the Law of Ukraine “On State Aid to Families with Children” provides for that “maternity allowance is appointed under the condition that the application for its appointment was received not later than twelve months after the date of birth of the child”. At the same time, legislation of Ukraine does not provide grounds for renewal of this term, even if there are valid reasons. What to do? After all, all citizens of Ukraine have the right to social benefits. Oksana should not be blamed for the fact that her city was occupied by Russian invaders, and she could not leave it immediately.

Then, the woman appealed to the specialized public reception on Crimea of ​​the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union. There lawyers have been dealing with similar cases for two years. Maksym Tymochko, a lawyer of the reception, said that absolutely all mothers who have moved from temporarily occupied Crimea have the same problem. There are now hundreds, and perhaps thousands of mothers. “For two years of the work of our office, we have been approached by two dozen of people with such issues. At present, we are conducting two lawsuits for receiving baby bonuses,” says Maksym Tymochko.

Maksym Tymochko, a lawyer of the specialized public reception on Crimea of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Maksym Tymochko, a lawyer of the specialized public reception on Crimea of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

The UHHRU lawyer says that courts are unwilling to adopt decisions in favor of mothers. In one of the cases, the court of first instance satisfied the plaintiff’s claims, but the court of appeal dismissed the decision, but lawyers filed a cassation appeal. The argument was as follows: there are no valid reasons to miss a deadline for application for the benefits.

“This means that not all judges understand in what conditions people live in occupation. After all, the trip itself to the controlled territory is very expensive: one have to pay a lot of money for renting an apartment, because the courts consider the application of establishing the fact of a child’s birth during three weeks. In addition, you must pay court fees. In addition, there is no railway connection to the occupied territory, and it is simply not possible to go through checkpoints, stand for hours in queue with a baby younger than one year. That is why the mothers are waiting until their children reach the age of one year and a half years or two years, and then they are going to apply for social benefits,” explains Maksym Tymochko.

However, according to Maksym Tymochko, even at the court of appeal, which refused the plaintiff, there was no consensus. One of the three judges added a separate opinion that such a decision would be a violation of human rights and discrimination to the court decision. The judge believes that, while complying with the letter of the law, it is also necessary to take into account the conditions, in which Ukrainian citizens live in the occupied territory.

In addition, there is already a precedent. On February 15, 2016, the Tsyurupinskyi District Court of Kherson Oblast ruled on a decision to provide baby bonuses to children. The arguments were as follows: “baby bonus by its nature is the assistance to the child, and not his/her parents, and therefore it is not possible to deprive the child of the social benefits, guaranteed by the state. In this case, the impossibility of a timely appeal to the body that carries out the appointment of assistance at the birth of a child has led to a violation of interests of the child.”

On August 28, the Shevchenkivskiy District Court of Kyiv decided to satisfy the Oksana’s claim against the Labor and Social Protection Office and to renew the deadline for applying for state benefits at the birth of the child. There is still an appeal claim ahead, but Maksym Tymochko believes in success.

By Oleh Shynkarenko specially for Livyi Bereh

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