Reform of the national disability determination system

Summary:

This 3 year-long (2021-2023) project enforces a comprehensive, structural reform of the national disability determination system. The project is funded by EU (1 million euro) and implemented by UNDP, in partnership with  civil society organizations representing persons with disabilities, relevant ministries and relevant state institutions. The aim of the reform is to set up a single body for disability determination (Institute) and establish uniform national criteria and methodology in line with the human-rights based approach. The project is recognized as a priority area by Program of Economic Reforms (2021-2023).

The key stakeholders are: CSOs representing persons with disabilities, Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport and national institutions: Institute for Public Health, the Pension Fund, Employment Agency, Social Welfare Centres.

Objective:

The overall objective is to fully reform the national disability determination system - for more just, equal and easier access to rights to all kinds of cash benefits and services for persons with disabilities, in line with the national positive legislation and ratified UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This is a complex reforming venture which includes five sectors: social protection, employment, pension and war veterans  and education and health. All the disability entitlements (various cash transfers and social services, disability pensions, employment and professional rehabilitation, education entitlements, various subsidies, etc.), in these sectors for about 50,000 citizens and their families, directly depend on design of disability determination system.

The reform should suspend the existing Commissions and establish a single national entity (Institute for Disability Determination) which will conduct a process of disability determination based on a new, uniform, national methodology and criteria for all the sectors. The current disability determination system is operated though 30 Commissions whereas each sector has its own commissions and mostly medically (illnesses and health conditions) based disability determination criteria. The present legal framework operates on the basis of six laws and 17 by-laws. A significant number of support staff and external associates (around 200) are engaged in the Commissions.

Upon establishing of the new system, persons with disabilities will exercise their rights in a more fair and easier manner, while it will also enable better monitoring of the potential misuses of social and other benefits and services. New definition of disability was adopted by act of ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2009). Under the Convention, persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Activities:

Key Activities in 2021:

  • Analysis of necessary amendments to the existing legislative framework and adoption of the new Law on the Single Disability Determination Entity and Uniform Methodology for Disability Determination;
  • Revising and adoption of the Single List of Impairments and Medical Conditions – by which all the existing lists are to be repealed;
  • Development of the new uniform methodology/criteria. The new system should also enable expert assessment of the remaining functionalities for daily life activities (hygiene, food preparation, grocery shopping, health care, etc.), as well as for work ability (related to the professional rehabilitation).

Key Activities in 2022:

  • Abolition of all the existing commissions (around 30) and establishment of the Institute (single entity for disability determination) that would perform disability determination for all the sectors;
  • Adaptation and equipping of the Institute premises;
  • Hiring professional staff. Capacity building of Institute staff to apply new methodology;
  • Trial run the new system, followed by an upgrade on the basis of the trial findings.

Key Activities in 2023:

  • Development of a tailor-made Information System for the Institute for disability determination, which will have interoperability with the e-Social Card and e-Health Card and if possible with other ICs. This System will generate national e-Registry of Persons with Disabilities;
  • Trainings for the Information System users and initial intensive functioning support for the new System operation along with provision of maintenance (1 year).

 Expected results:

  • Development and adoption of new methodology for disability determination;
  • Institutional rightsizing and optimization – by termination of the current Commissions and establishing of a national disability determination entity;
  • The CSO representing persons with disabilities will be duly involved in all project activities while the project will be continuously supported by the public campaign run by these CSO.

Project document

Information on Grant Beneficiaries and Contractors above 15,000.00 Eur

Impact

START DATE

October 2020

END DATE

October 2023

STATUS

Ongoing

PROJECT OFFICE

Montenegro

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER

United Nations Development Programme

DONORS

BOL-PREFECTURA DEL DEPARTAMENT

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS

$595,350

DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS

2020$13,753

2021$206,525

2022$53,834

Full Project information