Students are refused social categorical assistance

The commission that will decide on whether to give people categorical assistance or not will consist of 12 people. Another number was announced two days ago – 3 people.
An ERB journalist and a BSU student of the journalism faculty Alena tried to apply for categorical assistance in the department of social protection of Maskouski District of Minsk but the girl was refused. According to the law, the state has to pay … one more scholarship to every nonresident student to make it reach the living wage (185.670 roubles). Departments of social protection were ready to accept students two weeks ago but now they tell them to apply to their educational institutions.

Alena: I am a student and I live on my scholarship of 135 thousands.
Employee: Turn to your educational institution. This categorical assistance is not meant for students. It can be given to a student as part of the family. It is allocated in their home towns, in the place where their parents live. It cannot be given to a student personally.
Alena: Is it done taking into account the fact that I have come of age and considered a self-dependent person?
Employee: It is done regardless of anything. The law says that students can get it only as part of the family.

The head of the department of social protection Volha Stsyapanava says that Alena was the first student to have asked to categorical assistance. She considers the refusal of her colleague to be legal because they were instructed that students could not be considered independent family members at the beginning of January.

Volha Stsyapanava: Let her send us an appeal if she likes. A commission of 12 people will consider it.
ERB: Will the commission visit her room in the hostel?
Volha Stsyapanava: Of cause they will. Shouldn’t they see in what conditions she lives?
ERB: What if there was a PC in her room? Would the student have to forget about categorical assistance in this case?
Volha Stsyapanava: I cannot give you the exact answer. It will be decided by the commission.

The BSU trade union members were surprised at the idea that they will have to render categorical assistance and noted that not every university had such a commission.

The main term for getting categorical assistance is mentioned in the law: “Monthly categorical assistance is given to citizens living alone or separately on condition that their income does not exceed 100% of the minimal wage for objective reasons”.

So a student over 18 years old living separately from his or her parents (for example, in a hostel) has the right to send documents to the department of social protection. But it is also written: “The amount of categorical assistance allocated per every family member including every student (pupil) regardless of the place they study and per every citizen living alone or separately…”

It turns out that the two passages are contradictory: a student is considered a self-dependent person but at the same time he or she is considered a family member in the family of the parents. ERB turned to the legal advice office for an explanation.

Lawyer: You see, both terms are close to each other so they may be interpreted in different ways. But for the second passage, you could still apply for it. You see, they excluded students this way.

But this decree cannot define who can be considered a family member and who can’t. The department of census of enumeration of the Ministry of Statistics informed ERB that parents and students cannot be considered as one family if they are registered in different places. Everybody is considered an independent member of the household then.

ERB: Can a student living alone be considered an independent member of the household?
Department of census of enumeration: We consider them as a separate household, that is a family, if they live alone and provides themselves. We are using such terms to get ready for the census enumeration that will take place in 2009.

ERB decided to find out how the department of social protection of Staryya Darohi (Minsk District) explained the decree. It turned out that a student with a temporary registration in Minsk was considered part of the family.

Employee: We will take into account their scholarship, parents’ salaries and other sources of income. They cannot be considered independent while their parents are helping them. They do not provide themselves. We would not consider them part of their parents’ family if they were a young married couple.

Nobody can guarantee that categorical assistance will be given to everyone who asks for it. Even if you belong to one of the mentioned categories of citizens, you will have to make a commission of 12 people believe that you provide for yourself.