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Croatia

D. Independent living

D1. Choice of living arrangements

According to the National Strategy of Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2017-2020, everyone has the opportunity of choosing their living arrangements. The Anti-discrimination act (Official Gazette 85/2008, 112/2012) applies to the conduct of all state bodies, local and regional self-government units, legal persons vested with public authority, and to the conduct of all legal and natural persons, regarding housing, access to goods and services and their provision (Art. 8). The Social Welfare Act (Official gazette 157/2013, 152/2014, 99/2015, 52/2016, 16/2017, 130/17) states that the principle of freedom of choice is one of the basic principles in this law (Article 9). When it comes to persons with disabilities, their basic needs incorporate additional needs arising from their medical condition or disability (Article 4). Therefore, the Law lists a variety of social services related to housing for persons with disabilities: accommodation in an institution, day-care programmes and organised housing, community living or independent living with social support and home assistance (Article 74).

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Update date: Fri, 2019-04-05

D2. De-institutionalisation

With the aim to intensify the reform processes of transformation and deinstitutionalisation, the Plan of deinstitutionalisation, transformation and prevention of institutionalisation 2018-2020 was adopted by the Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy in December 2018. This Plan represents a basis for planning the network of institutions and activities of social welfare. The purpose of the National Plan is to reduce the entry of users in institutions
The Plan includes improvement of the capacity of social welfare centres to develop an early identification of needs and a timely identification of the necessary social services. According to the Plan, the quality, availability and compliance of social services for adults with disabilities will be improved in accordance with their needs in all counties. Non-institutional social services will be developed for beneficiaries who cannot stay within their own families, and who do not need long-term intensive care (foster care, small family-run homes, etc.). According to the Plan, the scope of non-institutional services will be expanded. Individual plans for deinstitutionalization and transformation of homes/centres will be developed and passed. The number of providers of non-institutionalized services will be increased. Sufficient and adequate equipment and premises for the provision of non-institutional services will be provided as well as sufficient staff and education.
The key principle behind the Social Welfare Act (Official Gazette 157/2013, 152/2014 99/2015, 52/2016, 16/2017, 130/2017) is inclusion in the community (Art. 12) which means that social welfare services shall be provided to beneficiaries primarily in their homes and local community through out-of-institution forms of care ensured by various providers, with the objective of improving quality of life and community inclusion.

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Update date: Fri, 2019-04-05

D3. Quality of social services

The Social Welfare Act (Official Gazette 157/2013, 152/2014, 99/2015, 52/2016, 16/2017, 130/2017) regulates that social services have to be provided in accordance with the quality standards defined by the relevant by-law (Article 196). These standards are regulated by the By-law on Quality Standards of Social Services (Official Gazette 143/2014). This by-law defines seventeen quality standards for social services and sets guidelines for their introduction, together with benchmarks for determining whether the quality standards of social services have been achieved. The quality standards of social services defined the following: availability of information, availability of services, connection and cooperation, evaluation and planning, reception and release, decision-making and self-determination, privacy and confidentiality, safeness from abuse, restrictive procedures, complaints, management, employees, work of volunteers, students doing practice and apprentices, accessibility of the environment, conditions adapted to beneficiaries, security and protection (Article 3).

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Update date: Fri, 2019-04-05

D4. Provision of assistive devices at home

The services for assistance to disabled persons in their homes are financed exclusively by persons themselves and their families. Those with health insurance have rights to some devices according to the Rule book on Orthopaedic and Other Tools which has a number of amendments (Official Gazette, 42/18). For example, fax devices or an alarm clock with light as assistive devices for deaf persons or a clock and a screen reader for blind persons, a screen reader with a speech unit for blind persons, etc. The National Strategy of Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2017-2020 states that new technologies need to be used to increase the independence and quality of life of disabled persons. The application of the universal design principle is one of the measures promoted by the National Strategy for Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2017-2020, which includes ensuring an accessible environment in line with universal design principles (Measure 6.7.). According to the By-law on Procedures and Conditions for Performing Activities Regarding Electronic Communication Networks and Services (Art. 32, Official Gazette 154/2011, 149/2013, 82/2014,24/2015, 42/2016) devices have to be adapted to disabled persons.

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Update date: Fri, 2019-04-05

D5. Availability of personal assistance schemes

According to the Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy in Croatia services of assistance for persons with disabilities include personal assistant, interpreter of Croatian sign language and assistant for blind persons. Assistance services for persons with disabilities are realized in cooperation with organisations of persons with disabilities.
Provision of personal assistance is funded since 2006 through the state budget with some additional funding from lottery funds since 2010. Since joining the EU, the ESF funds are also used for these services and bring additional value to the national programme. The scope of potential beneficiaries within these projects is wider that within programmes financed by the state budget, for example, they include assistants for persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. Personal assistants can be chosen only with the mediation of disabled persons' organisations. Services of personal assistants are funded through three-year projects. The tenders are announced by the Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy (former Ministry of Social Policy and Youth), and organisations and associations of organisations can apply, and they should use the allocated funds to provide services of personal assistants for persons with disabilities. In the tenders there are designated priority areas. In the tender 2018 (for the period 2019-2021) those were three groups of services: 1) provision of personal assistants for persons with the most severe type and degree of disability; 2) provision of services of an interpreter / translator of Croatian sign language; and 3) provision of services of persons accompanying blind persons who cannot move independently. Users can be persons with the most severe type and degree of disability aged 18 to 65 (Barthel index 0-45). All users to whom the organisation plans to provide personal assistance service shall undergo evaluation by an independent multidisciplinary expert commission. The Law on Personal Assistants has not yet been passed.

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Update date: Fri, 2019-04-05

D6. Income maintenance

The basic law that determines social welfare rights is the Social Welfare Act (Official Gazette 157/2013, 152/2014 i 99/2015, 25/2016, 16/2017, 130/2017). The main instrument for income maintenance of persons with disabilities is, according to this law, the personal disability allowance. The Personal Disability Allowance is intended for persons with severe disability or some other permanent severe impairments regarding their medical situation, with the objective of meeting their needs to be included in everyday life of the community (Article 54). The disability allowance cannot be received by a person with disability who either receives some other form of social welfare allowance or is placed in an institution. Also, it depends on the income and assets of the person – a person who owns real estate other than the one in which he/she lives cannot receive a disability allowance. The provisions of the Social Welfare Act that were meant to motivate users of this allowance to actively search for employment stipulated that beneficiaries who are able to work can receive this allowance for up to two years, and cannot apply for a new allowance for at least three months after that. The person who is employed can receive only the amount defined as a difference between the person's salary and the amount received by non-employed recipients of disability allowance (Article 55). The Law on Income Tax (Articles 8, 14,42, Official gazette 115/2016, 106/2018), the By-law on Income Tax (Official gazette 10/2017, 128/2017, 106/2018, 1/2019), the Law on the Value-added Tax (Article 38, Official gazette 73/2013, 148/2013, 143/2014, 115/2016, 106/2018), the By-law on the Value-added Tax (Official gazette 79/2013, 85/2013, 160/2013, 35/2014, 157/14, 130/15, 1/2017, 41/2017, 128/2017, 1/2019) regulate tax deductions or tax reductions for persons with disabilities. In accordance with the Law on the Rights of the Croatian Homeland War Veterans and Members of Their Families (Official Gazette 121/2017, Article 57), Croatian Homeland War Veterans and Members of Their Families are categorised in ten groups according to the degree of their impairment, among which are the following: personal disability benefit; orthopaedic allowance; single cash allowance; special allowance for unemployed; war veterans’ cash benefit, allowance for assistance at home, etc. Disabled war veterans can also receive a personal disability benefit on the basis of the Law on the Protection of the Military and Civilian War-Disabled.

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Update date: Fri, 2019-04-05

D7. Additional costs

The right to compensation for the cost of housing is recognised in the Social Welfare Act (Art. 41 Official Gazette 157/2013, 152/2014 i 99/2015, 25/2016, 16/2017, 130/2017) for beneficiaries of the guaranteed minimum allowance, which is important for persons with disabilities. The costs of housing in terms of this Law apply to the rent, utility charges, electricity, gas, heating, water, sanitation and other costs of living in accordance with special regulations. A guaranteed minimum allowance is recognised for a single person or a household with no means of and without ways to obtain those means through work or other income sources. Amounts are prescribed by law. The provisions of the Social Welfare Act that were meant to motivate users of this allowance to actively search for employment stipulated that beneficiaries who are able to work can receive this allowance for up to two years, and cannot apply for a new allowance for at least three months after that. In order to reduce the risks of poverty among vulnerable groups the Government has passed the Regulation on criteria for acquiring a status of disadvantaged buyer of energy from the network systems (Official gazette 120/12, 14/14 and 95/15) through which it transferred Directive 2009/72/EZ and 2009/73 of the European Parliament and the Council from 13 July 2009. With this Regulation the criteria for acquiring the status of 'a disadvantaged buyer' is identified in order to reduce the poverty of disadvantaged buyers through social support. The beneficiaries of the guaranteed minimum allowance or personal disability allowance have this status. With the Regulation on amendments to the Law on Energy (Official gazette 95/2015) the solidarity payment of electrical energy became possible. The allowances payment is regulated by the Regulation published in Official gazette 102/2015. Vouchers for electricity should be allocated to households and people who are currently beneficiaries of the guaranteed minimum allowance or personal disability allowance. Disabled military veterans have some additional benefits.
According to Law on the Rights of the Croatian Homeland War Veterans and Members of Their Families, Croatian military disabled war veterans with impairments of 100 % have the right to receive a car with installed adequate adaptations from the ministry responsible for homeland war veterans every seven years. (Article 69). This law allows veterans with disabilities to purchase an apartment with favourable loans or to live in a state-owned apartments and houses (Chapter 6). They have the right to adapt apartments and houses (art.69)
The accessibility of buildings for persons with disabilities in accordance with Law on Construction (Official Gazette 153/2013, 20/2017) is regulated by By-law on ensuring accessibility of buildings to persons with disabilities and reduced mobility (Official Gazette 78/2013). Obligations from this By-law apply to all public and business buildings, and to residential and residential-business buildings. This does not include private houses of persons with disabilities.

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Update date: Fri, 2019-04-05

D8. Retirement income

Pension insurance is a part of the social security system that insures against the risks of losing income due to old age, disability and death of the family member realised in accordance with the Law on Pension Insurance (Official Gazette 157/2013, 151/2014, 33/2015, 93/2015, 120/2016, 18/2018, 62/18, 115/18). According to this Law, a physical impairment is considered to be a loss, serious impairment or significant inability of organs or body parts, which aggravates normal activity and requires greater efforts in performing daily needs, regardless of whether it causes or not the reduction or loss of working capacity (Art. 61). The percentage of physical impairment is determined on the basis of a special Regulation on Assessment Methods (Official Gazette Croatia, 67/2017) and types and percentages of impairment. The expertise is conducted on the basis of this list, and opinions are made on the type and degree of impairment with the purpose of realising the right to receive allowance because of physical impairment in accordance with the Law on Pension Insurance. The Law on the Protection of the Military and Civilian War-Disabled Persons regulates the rights of war-disabled veterans from the World War II, peacetime military disabled persons and civilian war disabled persons and members of their families. These groups of persons with disabilities are categorised, according to the determined percentage of the impairment, in ten groups. According to Art. 1 of the Law on Insurance with Increased Duration, persons with disabilities including: blind persons, persons with dystrophy and related muscular and neuromuscular diseases, persons with paraplegia, cerebral palsy and polio, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, deaf persons and persons with functional disorders due to which they cannot move independently without using a wheelchair, are enabled to realise rights from the pension insurance under more favourable conditions, in a way that the period spent in full time employment is counted into the years of insurance with increased duration (each 12 months of service is counted as 15 months, and the age limit for acquiring the right to an old age pension is lowered by one year for each five years of employment). The Law on Pension Insurance prescribes the conditions and manner of ensuring the right to professional rehabilitation of insured persons and pension beneficiaries (Articles 44-55) of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute who became disabled (professionally unfit for work) but who still have some remaining work capacity. This Law ensures the right to professional rehabilitation, but only for persons insured in the pension insurance system, not to all persons with disabilities. The pension amount is calculated by multiplying personal points with a pension factor and the actual pension value. Personal points depend on the duration of pension insurance and the wages that the insured persons received during their career, and is determined by multiplying average value points by total duration of pension insurance and a starting factor. According to Article 86 of the Law on Supplement of Pension realised in accordance with the Law on Pension Insurance (Official gazette 79/07, 114/11), when personal points for disability pension are determined, if the partial or complete loss of working capability is caused by an injury at work or professional illness, value points for at least 40 year of pension insurance are taken into account.

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Update date: Fri, 2019-04-05

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