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Bituach Leumi’s General Disability Program

Note:This information is intended to aid interactions with qualified social workers and other assistance professionals.

Disability applies to a person whose earning capacity, or household function as a homemaker, is significantly reduced due to disability. Children and individuals above the retirement age are not eligible for general disability, and should refer to the respective programs for their circumstances (such as Child Disability or Old Age Pension).
 
All of the details of Bituach Leumi’s General Disability program are available in English on the Bituach Leumi website. The following is a summary of the major details:

Establishing Disability Percentages

Pension rates and other benefits are based on two percentages:

Degree of medical disability: The applicant is examined by a medical committee at Bituach Leumi, except in certain cases when submitted documentation is sufficient, or a doctor will come to the patient.
Degree of incapacity to earn or to function in the household: A claims officer then establishes a second percentage to reflect the consequences of the specified conditions on the individual’s capacity to earn or function in the household.

Both the established percentage of medical disability and the degree of incapacity can be appealed.

Pension Rates

Partial Pension: starts at a 60% incapacity
Full Pension: starts at 75% incapacity (NIS 2,210 as of 01.01.2011)
Additional Increments: added for dependents

Working

While the pension may be reduced or replaced with an incentive pension, the total amount that a person will receive from the pension and employment will always be higher than the amount of the pension alone. An individual can also continue to receive fringe benefits such as discounts on municipal taxes, public transportation and rent assistance, in accordance with the rules established by the organizations that provide the benefits.

Submitting the Claim

Assistance from a medical social worker, or others familiar with the process, can be very useful in preparing the forms and accompanying documents, which include:

  • The claim form available on the Bituach Leumi website, from a medical social worker, or from Bituach Leumi offices
  • Medical documentation from the Kupat Cholim detailing chronic conditions, treatments and medications
  • Diagnostic summaries (and any other medical support for the claim)
  • Certification of employment and salary, if applicable

Start of Entitlement

Entitlement to a pension begins 90 days after the onset of the medical conditions that are responsible for the disability, regardless of when the claim is submitted, but the pension can only be paid retroactively for up to a year.

Additional Benefits

The other Bituach Leumi programs and benefits from other government institutions are discussed separately; however, the following additional benefits are highlighted specifically along with the disability program:

Vocational Rehabilitation

Individuals with a medical disability of at least 20% are also entitled to vocational rehabilitation, which includes reimbursement of tuition fees and other expenses, even if their percentage of incapacity does not qualify them for a pension. Accessibility services for those with severe disabilities that limit access to studies and to work, and job placement services that specialize in placing people with disabilities, are also available.

Disability Certificate

All recipients of a disability pension receive a disability certificate by mail that enables one to receive discounts from various bodies, such as entrance fees to private and public institutions, as determined by the bodies that grant them.

Grant Following Decease

The spouse or child of a deceased recipient of disability pension is entitled to a one-time grant (NIS 8,260 as of 01.01.2011) upon submitting a claim within 12 months. The survivors may also claim up to six months of uncollected pension retroactively.

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Mobility Benefits

Note: This information is intended to aid interactions with qualified social workers and other assistance professionals.

The mobility benefits program provides various forms of assistance to people with impairments that limit their mobility, with the aim of helping them to integrate into the community and develop an independent life. These benefits include eligibility for a monthly allowance as well as various loans for vehicles and vehicle accessories. Each benefit in this program has its own conditions of entitlement.

All of the details of Bituach Leumi’s Mobility program are available in English on the Bituach Leumi website. The following is a summary of the major details:

Mobility Allowance

A monthly allowance is paid to those with limited mobility to assist with mobility expenses whether or not they are vehicle owners.

Vehicle owners’ allowance rates are established based on multiple factors, including:

  • Personal Variables such as the beneficiary’s percentage of mobility limitation, if the beneficiary is the driver, an earner and/or a long distance (40 km round trip) commuter.
  • Vehicle Variables such as engine size, insurance prices, gasoline prices, maintenance costs, the value and nature of special accessories installed or vehicle design.

A person without a vehicle is entitled to an allowance in an amount equal to that paid to a person with a valid driver’s license, who earns a salary, owns a vehicle with an engine volume of 1,800 cc, and for whom a 100% mobility limitation has been established.

For example: The mobility allowance paid to a person for whom a 100% mobility limitation has been established with a valid driver’s license, earning a salary, owning a vehicle with an engine volume of 1,800 cc was NIS 2,049 in July 2008.

Vehicle Loans

The following loans may be available to beneficiaries:

  • Loan for the taxes due on the purchase of a vehicle
  • Loan for a percentage of the cost of a new vehicle before taxes
  • Loans for vehicle accessories such as wheelchair lifts and other aids

Loan repayment is postponed for as long as the vehicle is in use by the beneficiary under continuing eligibility conditions, the amount due is reduced over this time, and in some cases the loan ultimately becomes a full grant. If a person remains eligible for mobility benefits he may also be able to receive loans multiple times to replace vehicles and/or accessories.

Establishing Entitlement & Submitting the Claim

The process of entitlement to the mobility benefit involves the Misrad Habriut along with Bituach Leumi. A person must first submit the Application for Medical Examination to Establish Mobility Limitations to the district health office (Misrad Habriut) where a medical committee will established the percentage of limited mobility according to a list of defined impairments, usually after a direct examination of the claimant.

After the percentage of mobility limitation is established,  the Claim for Benefits Under the Mobility Agreement must be submitted to Bituach Leumi.

Both of these forms list the necessary accompanying documents, which include medical documentation, driver and vehicle licenses, and other materials depending on each case. Assistance from a kupah or hospital social worker, or others familiar with the process, can be very useful in preparing the forms and accompanying documents.

Start of Entitlement

The beneficiary is eligible for the mobility allowance from the date the percentage of disability is determined by the Misrad Habriut medical committee. If the claim to Bituach Leumi is submitted later, the allowance is only paid for up to two months retroactively.

Limitations

A person after retirement age can not receive a mobility benefit unless they began receiving it beforehand.

Eligibility for multiple special pensions from Bituach Leumi, such as the Attendance Allowance or Child Disability, can sometimes conflict. In other cases double benefits are acceptable, usually when the circumstances are more severe.

Additional Details

Learning to Drive a Vehicle with Special Accessories

A person with limited mobility who must drive a vehicle for special accessories while sitting in a wheelchair, can learn to drive in a Bituach Leumi vehicle equipped with accessories to assist those learning to drive or learning to use the special accessories that will be installed in their vehicles.

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Bituach Leumi’s Attendance Allowance

Note: This information is intended to aid interactions with qualified social workers and other assistance professionals.

An attendance allowance is given to those who require a great deal of assistance by another person for routine activities (i.e. dressing, eating, washing, mobility within the home and control of bodily functions), or who require constant supervision to prevent a danger to their lives or to the lives of others.

Individuals above the retirement age are not eligible for this program unless a Bituah Leumi doctor determines that the insured was entitled beforehand, and the claim was submitted within 6 months of reaching retirement age. Children are also not eligible. For each of these groups, refer to the respective programs for relevant circumstances (Child Disability or Old Age Pension).

All of the details of Bituach Leumi’s Attendance Allowance for the disabled are available in English on the Bituach Leumi website. The following is a summary of the major details:

Establishing Entitlement

The claimant is examined by a doctor on behalf of Bituach Leumi and afterwards, in certain circumstances, he is examined in his home by a professional who assesses his dependence. The level of required assistance is assessed to determine the corresponding allowance rate.

Note:  Even those who not receive a disability pension (for example: if their income is higher than the threshold) are eligible for the attendance allowance if their established medical disability is at least 75%.

 

Rates

The attendance allowance is distributed at three different rates that are described as percentages relative to the amount of a full general disability pension, but are not connected to the actual disability pension amount that one already receives. The rates are based on the level of assistance required for some or all of the the essential daily routine activities: dressing, eating, washing, mobility within the home and control of bodily functions.

Low

50% of a full disability pension, plus an additional increment of NIS 289 (as of 01.01.2011), for those requiring assistance in most routine activities, most of the time.

Medium

105% of a full disability pension, plus an additional increment of NIS 589 (as of 01.01.2011), for those requiring assistance in all routine activities, most of the time.

High

175% of a full disability pension, plus an additional increment of NIS 878 (as of 01.01.2011), for those requiring assistance in all routine activities, all of the time.

 

Re-examination

A claimant whose condition has worsened is entitled to a re-examination if 6 months have elapsed since assessment, or earlier, based on submitted medical documentation of the circumstances.

 

Start of Entitlement

Entitlement to an allowance can begin 90 days from the commencement of incapacity. If the claim is submitted later, entitlement can begin immediately, or a Bituach Leumi doctor may establish a retroactive benefit for up to 6 months prior.

 

Submitting the Claim

The claim form for the Attendance Allowance is available on the Bituach Leumi website, from a social worker, or from Bituach Leumi offices, and must be submitted to the local branch. Assistance from a kupat cholim or hospital social worker, or others familiar with the process, is very useful in preparing the form.