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Kerala government alters social security pension criterion for disabled people

February 26, 2019

Disabled people are entitled to various pension schemes from central and state governments. But it also comes with many criteria that need to be strictly followed. The government of Kerala had put up four main criteria to being eligible for their social security pension scheme. The beneficiary will not be eligible for the pension of they if they live in a house that is above 1200 sq. ft., has a car with an engine power of above 1000 cc, a house with area over two acres of land and also if they have a family member who works in government services. Now, the state government has decided to take off the first criteria where the beneficiary will not be eligible for the pension if they live in a house above 1200 sq. ft. This latest move of the state government gets thumbs up from people in the disabled community of the state.

According to disabled people, a wheelchair user needs to live with at least 1200 sq. ft. so that their mobility is not affected.

Rajeev Palluruthy of the All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF) says the criteria of owning a house that is lesser than 1200 sq. ft to avail pension is impossible.

A wheelchair user needs to live in a house with minimum 1200 sq. ft to move around freely. Then how can the government introduce that as a criterion to not avail the pension? Since this has been taken off, more wheelchair users can benefit from this. This is truly a relief. Similarly, wheelchair users need cars that are above 1000 cc so that we can carry our wheelchairs around. This criterion does not make any sense. We are just asking for our basic rights. -Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, AKWRF

Also, beneficiaries who were receiving the Employment Provident Fund pension along with the social security pension were eligible only for Rs 600. That has been taken off as well. They will now be eligible for the full amount of the social security pension. The existing monthly pension of Rs 1,100 has been increased to Rs 1,200 which will be implemented from April. The criteria will be taken off for all the fresh and existing applications.

Over the past few months, authorities received numerous complaints over malpractices and ineligible beneficiaries getting pension amounts. After a detailed investigation, the state government decided to revise the criteria.

"I would request the government to take off the criteria where the beneficiary will not be eligible if they have a vehicle with engine power of over 1000 cc. For wheelchair users, cars are an inevitable part of our lives and all car engines are above 1000 cc. We do not want any luxury cars but ones with basic facilities", says Pattazhi.

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