Disabled face long wait for benefits

The streamlining of state committees issuing certificates for disabled citizens in the fall of 2011 has resulted in a more rather than less bureaucratic system, according to the National Confederation of Disabled People (NCDP), which says the overhaul has left some 60,000 citizens being forced to wait for long periods before obtaining the documents needed to receive benefits.

The establishment in September 2011 of 54 regional disability certification centers, which replaced dozens of state committees, obliged thousands of citizens to resubmit their applications.

Meanwhile the criteria for certification reportedly remain unclear, resulting in delays. Pressure on committee officials to weed out potential benefit frauds has further complicated the process, according to NCDP president Yiannis Vardakastanis. “This system, which regards each disabled citizen as a possible con man, is a social cancer,” Vardakastanis.

Would-be beneficiaries submitting applications to certification centers in Attica reportedly face a wait of three to four months while that can stretch up to a year on the islands, Kathimerini understands.

Disabled citizens residing on islands in the Dodecanese face additional woes as they are obliged to travel to Rhodes to submit their applications at the certification center there, according to sources.