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Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili attended an event dedicated to the 69th

anniversary of the victory over fascism on 9 May 2014 and marked Victory Day with veterans of the Great Patriotic War. During his speech, Gharibashvili focused upon the state’s obligations towards veterans and talked about the social programmes being implemented by the government. According to him, the government has allocated GEL 400 of aid for each veteran and GEL 200 of aid for each family which lost its breadwinner. Gharibashvili also emphasised the importance of improving health-care for veterans and stated that the newly-launched State Universal Health-care Programme fully covers the costs of medical services for Georgia’s veterans.

FactCheck

took interest in the Prime Minister’s statement and checked its accuracy.

The Law on War and Military Forces Veterans defines the legal and economic basis of war veteran’s social security in Georgia. Article 6 of the Law defines four main categories of war and military forces veterans living in Georgia: 1) World War II veterans and individuals with equal status, 2) Veterans fighting for Georgia’s territorial integrity, freedom and independence and individuals with equal status; 3) Veterans of military operations on the territory of other states and individuals with equal status and 4) Veterans of the armed forces.

The Prime Minister’s statement about granting GEL 400 of aid to an individual veteran applies only to the first category of the abovementioned veterans; namely, World War II veterans.

Of note is the establishment of the Department of Veteran Affairs which was set up in Georgia in 1997 as a part of a cooperation programme with NATO. The Department fell under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence in 2011 and became a structural subdivision of the Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces. Later, the subdivision was established as an independent structural unit in the form of the State Department of Veteran Affairs based upon the initiative of the Ministry of Defense and the Government’s Resolution N102 of 23 January 2013. The main functions of the State Department of Veteran Affairs are facilitating the psycho-social rehabilitation of war and military forces veterans and working to solve their social problems.

The State Department of Veteran Affairs told FactCheck that it developed a project to allocate one-time social aid to World War II veterans and individuals who lost breadwinners in the Great Patriotic War in order to mark the 69th

anniversary of the victory over fascism. A one-time social assistance payment of GEL 400 was given to participants of World War II and a one-time social assistance payment of GEL 200 was given to those who lost breadwinners in the Great Patriotic War as a part of the aforementioned project and the Government’s Resolution N289 of 14 April 2014 in order to mark the 9 May anniversary.

According to the same Resolution, Tbilisi City Council was responsible for organizing the granting of one-time monetary social assistance to those veterans and individuals residing in Tbilisi who lost their breadwinners in the Great Patriotic War while the Social Services Agency was responsible for the same task in Georgia’s regions based upon the list provided by the State Department of Veteran Affairs. As a result, 1,477 World War II veterans and 521 individuals who lost their breadwinners in the Great Patriotic War received the one-time monetary social assistance under the project. The total amount transferred by the Social Services Agency to the personal bank accounts of these individuals amounted to GEL 695,000. Tbilisi City Council allocated GEL 31,400 in total as one-time social assistance payments to 116 individuals who lost their breadwinners in the Great Patriotic War and 727 World War II veterans. World War II veterans and individuals who lost their breadwinners in the Great Patriotic War were able to receive their monetary social assistance at branches of Liberty Bank.

Unlike these one-time monetary social assistance payments as described above, the State Universal Health-care Programme mentioned in the second part of the Prime Minister’s statement can be generalised for the four categories of veterans.

Prior to the implementation of the State Universal Health-care Programme, there was no official state insurance programme dedicated to veterans in Georgia. The State Universal Health-care Programme implemented from 28 February 2013 was applied step-by-step to those citizens who were not using a health-care package as of this date with war and military forces veterans falling among these individuals. They have been fully involved in the State Universal Health-care Programme since 15 July 2013. The Government’s Resolution N178 of 15 July 2013 defined the obligation that necessary financial support for the availability of medical services for Georgia’s veterans be covered by the State Universal Health-care Programme. The Department of Veteran Affairs (later the State Service of Veteran Affairs) of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of Georgia was responsible for providing monthly information to the Social Services Agency about the number of war and military forces veterans listed in Georgia.

Until July 2013, the only state health care package that applied to war and military forces veterans of retirement age and based upon the age credential was the medical insurance package adopted by the Government’s Resolution N165 of 2012 which covered pre-school-aged children, retirement-aged citizens (men aged 65 years and older and women aged 60 years and older), children with disabilities and individuals with severe disabilities. According to the Government’s Resolution N396 of 31 December 2013, veterans of retirement age will also use the insurance package covered by the State Universal Health-care Programme after the enactment of veteran official bond insurance under the state programme.

Since 1 July 2013, the medical services package under the Universal Health-care Programme has significantly increased for its users. The insurance programme combines 70%, 80% and 100% insurance packages according to different types of medical services and different categories of users. According to the data of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, the state programme fully covers the costs of every type of medical service provided by the insurance programme for war and military forces veterans. These include:

  • Emergency ambulance service;
  • Routine dispensary service based upon the request of a family doctor;
  • Various instrumental laboratory and clinical examinations at the dispensary level;
  • Surveillance of incurable patients and patients with diabetes;
  • Assessment of health status and risk factors and also disease preventive measures;
  • Home service upon the request of medical needs of the patient (within the scope of competence);
  • Emergency inpatient services.

Additionally, the insurance programme includes a wide range of routine surgical operations within the amount of a GEL 15,000 annual limit as well as the full funding for cardiac surgery (including day care).

Of note is that the State Universal Health-care Programme for veterans does not cover the costs of the following medical services: treatment of viral hepatitis, planned hospital activities of a therapeutic profile, medical services rendered abroad, organ transplantation, and sanatorium and resort treatment costs. Of particular note is the fact that the state programme covers the costs of limited drug treatment for veterans. Herein, drug costs will be paid only in the case of a co-payment of GEL 50 annually and 50% by the recipient.

The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs indicates that a subprogram supporting veteran rehabilitation is in existence based upon the Government’s Resolution N291 of 14 April 2014. This sub-programme applies to war and military forces veterans without official bond. Only a person with disabilities or an elderly war veteran (men from the age of 65 years and women from the age of 60 years) can use the following types of services annually within a GEL 250 limit: consultation with a doctor, physiotherapy and laboratory-instrumental examinations, medical training and manual therapy procedures.

Conclusion After looking into Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement, we found out that the government has allocated one-time social assistance payments of GEL 400 for veterans and one-time social assistance payments of GEL 200 for vulnerable families in order to mark the 69th

anniversary of the victory over fascism. With the coordination of Tbilisi City Council and the Social Services Agency of Georgia, 2,204 World War II veterans and 637 individuals who lost their breadwinners in the Great Patriotic War received the one-time monetary social assistance across Georgia.

FactCheck

also found out that there was no insurance of an official character for war and military forces veterans registered in Georgia. The State Universal Health Care Programme implemented in 2013 covered every category of war and military forces veterans registered in Georgia since 15 July 2013 with official bonds. The costs of medical services under this package will be fully covered by the state.

Despite the fact that the insurance package did not include the coverage of certain types of medical services such as the full purchase of medicines, the funding of viral hepatitis treatment and organ transplantation, the State Universal Health-care Programme, unlike other categories of beneficiaries of the insurance package, covers 100% of the costs of every medical service included in the insurance package for war and military forces veterans without a co-payment by the beneficiary.

FactCheck concludes that the statement by Irakli Gharibashvili, "Our government has allocated GEL 400 of aid for each veteran for the 69th anniversary [of the Great Patriotic War] and GEL 200 for each family which lost its breadwinner. You are aware that the state has launched a health-care programme which includes a 100% package for veterans," is TRUE.

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