A Milestone for Social Protection for the Elderly and Persons With Disabilities
In 2015, which has been declared the “Year of Care for the Elderly” in the country by Presidential order, the United Nations in Uzbekistan is dedicating particular efforts to social protection of the elderly and persons with disabilities. Moreover, following joint advocacy by the UN and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population, the Cabinet of Ministers has introduced a wide range of new targeted social protection measures and strengthened existing support for both these key population groups.
A Cabinet resolution extends the list of people who are eligible for public social services and support, while also introducing new services and procedures to provide these services. For example, the frequency of home visits and nature of home-based procedures by social workers for the lonely elderly and persons with disabilities now will be measured against international standards. At the same time, the contents of free monthly packages of food and hygiene products for these groups will be much more diverse, containing 15 instead of 9 items, while beneficiaries also will have the option to choose the types and quantities of products provided.
In addition, the Cabinet resolution makes about 2,000 lonely elderly and persons with disabilities who have no contributory pensions eligible for the same benefits as those who made social insurance contributions through the workplace. Thus, these additional beneficiaries will start to receive monthly food baskets, free medicines and medical treatment, and annual rest in sanatoriums, among other assistance.
The United Nations in Uzbekistan is helping to set up a feedback mechanism to further improve the quality of social services and meet beneficiaries’ needs. It also is introducing international best practices to national social services professionals for the elderly.