Following public appeals by the Croatian Pensioners’ Union and the National Pensioners’ Convention of Croatia and the Ombudswoman’s recommendation issued after having received a significant number of complaints by the elderly citizens unable to obtain a one-off COVID relief payment despite meeting the financial census and other conditions, the Ministry of Labor, the Pension System, Family and Social Policy has decided to extend the deadline for the application submissions for the grant in question.

Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter issued her recommendation in line with her role as the commissioner of the Croatian Parliament responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms, as well as in line with the national equality body mandate.

COVID-19 relief payment is an example of the so called “positive measures” as it was designed to help the most vulnerable groups of the elderly citizens – those receiving the lowest pensions. Nevertheless, for it to completely fulfill its goal and purpose, specific needs of its target group need to be fully taken into account.

However, a number of the elderly citizens were unable to submit the application in time due to various reasons such as their frail health, while others were prevented by the epidemic measures. Due to not using or not knowing how to use digital tools, some of them missed out on the basic information on the manner and the deadline for the submission of the applications.

These circumstances, along with the objectively short deadline, especially difficult to meet for the citizens who needed to obtain the necessary documentation from abroad, lead to a significant number of elderly citizens not obtaining the COVID supplement, despite meeting the financial census. The deadline extension resulting from the Ombudswoman’s recommendation can, thus, be considered a positive move, indicating sensitivity for the needs of the most vulnerable members of the society.

More information on the position of and problems faced by the elderly persons in Croatia is available here.