In 2021, ZUS carried out 353200 inspections of people with a certificate of temporary incapacity to work, informs Paweł Żebrowski, spokesman for the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).
As a consequence, decisions suspending the payment of sickness benefits for a total amount of over 15 million PLN. Last year, ZUS also limited the basis for the calculation of sickness benefit and rehabilitation benefit after termination of sickness insurance to 100%. average salary. This applied to almost 156000 throughout the last year.
191 million PLN taken back
In total, the amount of reduced and withdrawn cash benefits from social insurance in the event of sickness and maternity amounted to over 191 million PLN in the period from January to December 2021, Paweł Żebrowski said.
On this occasion, ZUS refers to the 1999 Act on cash benefits from social insurance in the event of sickness and maternity, on the basis of which it is possible to check the correctness of adjudication of temporary incapacity to work.
Attorney Katarzyna Nabożna-Motała, who represents women judging ZUS in the case of suspended or withdrawn maternity benefits, believes that this way the state allows itself to attack people who require special care, i.e. mothers.
“This will not help build our confidence as women entrepreneurs or improve demographics. It is only a blind act to make as much money as possible in a leaky budget” says the lawyer.
The court sentence varies by city
This has been going on for several years, when ZUS began to look at the amount of parental benefits. It was recognized that some women artificially inflated the premium in this way earlier in order to be able to pay themselves a much higher benefit later.
The state insurer does not see it as any pro-demographic activity, but more like a perfidious act of treating the state at the expense of other, honest taxpayers. And so began mass inspections, during which honest women got and still get. Sometimes they go to court in defence, but it also happens in different ways. It turns out that what the final sentence will be often depends on the city.
Most of the courts – apart from Lublin, Szczecin and Rzeszów – take the position that there are no normative grounds for questioning by the Social Insurance Institution on the basis of the amount of declared contributions.
“Even the Court of Appeal in Lublin acknowledged this in a legal question to the Supreme Court, and yet there are judgments that are negative for women, i.e. sentences are passed without any legal basis” , believes attorney Nabożna-Motała.
She adds that, “unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not rise to the occasion and did not clarify the question of whether, when the insurance title is not questioned (if the activity is not considered fictitious), whether ZUS may still question the basis for the amount of declared contributions.
This is a breach of the principle of trust in the state, because when the courts adjudicate without legal basis, state bodies can actually destroy every citizen – as they do with women who, after years without legal basis, are going to hell under the guise of the principles of social coexistence” Katarzyna Nabożna-Motała believes.
In recent years, ZUS has used this method mainly for women who are self employed. But that also changes. And now also women employed under a contract of employment can no longer sleep well.
“Decisions excluding insurance or lowering benefits are deliberately sent to women just before or just after giving birth”, alerts attorney Nabożna-Motała. “The scheme of operation of ZUS is to be the same each time. The state insurer examines any short-term employment, pregnancy, or any increase received prior to childbirth.
It often doesn’t end well for women. They remain destitute for months or with a reduced allowance. Many do not have the strength to fight in court, so for ZUS it is pure profit” explains the attorney.
But not only some women go to court. ZUS itself is more and more often taking this path. One of my clients heard from a policeman that they cannot redeem it now, because they have an order in advance to bring such cases to court – claims Katarzyna Nabożna-Motała.
The accusations can be absurd. Women are excluded from insurance on the charge that they were hired during a pandemic or are deliberately giving birth to one child after another, which is not fair to the system.
In another case, the court found that due to frequent infections of the children, the parents ” could have foreseen with high probability that they would need to be personally cared for and would be entitled to a care allowance .”
There are also cases of women who were previously, e.g. in 2013, inspected by the Social Insurance Institution. And then everything was fine, but now ZUS, controlling the same period, is questioning its own earlier findings.
“Where is the certainty of anything here? How to live in a country where state authorities attack individuals in need of care in such a perfidious way? Because young mothers and pregnant women require care” claims attorney Nabożna-Motała.
“The judgments of courts are very different. Fortunately, sentences are also passed according to the plaintiffs’ intention”. Attorney Nabożna-Motała refers to the judgement of her client from the Court of Appeal in Katowice.
In the dispute with the Social Insurance Institution, the judges decided that the decision by the pension body on the exclusion from compulsory social insurance, as well as the amount of the contribution assessment base, after a few years from the occurrence of the entitlement to the insurance in question, was in clear contradiction to the constitutionally guaranteed principle of certainty. and legal security and as such cannot be judged as correct.