Response stories

A social welfare office worker held to account

To birth her baby in safety, a pregnant PLHIV client moved from a war-stricken area where she was residing to a relatively peaceful city and obtained an IDP status certificate for herself. Once her baby was born, Inna found herself in a desperate situation and thought she would also try to get her baby recognized as an IDP. When she applied for this to the Social Welfare Office located in the area of temporary resettlement, she was denied this service because allegedly she was already a recipient of social assistance as a single mother.

When Inna questioned the case worker’s decision and mentioned her friend from another city who had the same status but was awarded a targeted child benefit, the welfare worker she was talking with framed her response rudely saying, “I’m the law here, and I decide who gets the support here and who does not,” and advised her to be thankful, even if just for the amount of money she was already getting.

Following this dispute, to see justice done, Inna made up her mind to seek help from the REActor. Once the client stated her case, the REActor offered free legal aid via an online platform. During the session, the legal counsel explained that the woman’s rights had indeed been violated in this case, as described below:

  • The living allowance paid to IDPs has nothing to do with accessing social assistance as a single mother;
  • Babies born to IDPs are eligible for IDP certification and financial support.

Next, with the client’s consent, professional legal assistance was provided to draft an official letter addressed to the Head of the Social Welfare Department in the city where Inna was staying, pointing out these procedural violations and asking for feedback.

The woman has now been contacted by a representative of this Department and invited to apply for getting an IDP status certificate for her baby. She received a verbal response to her letter and was informed that the employee who had refused her this service in violation of applicable policies and regulations had been officially reprimanded and made to undergo a re-credentialing process for an ad-hoc re-evaluation.