The magic circle: How income-security benefits are denied to the Palestinians of East Jerusalem

WAC-MAAN contacted the branch director repeatedly and was finally told that the NII doctor had approved some but not all of the sick leave ordered by Najah’s doctor, which meant...

WAC-MAAN contacted the branch director repeatedly and was finally told that the NII doctor had approved some but not all of the sick leave ordered by Najah’s doctor, which meant that the ISB had been withdrawn for two months. Again, this decision was not explained, and again the rejection of the medical documents appeared to be arbitrary – there was no attempt to clarify the matter with Najah or her doctor as is required. Again, WAC-MAAN’s attempts to get an explanation were unsuccessful, so it had to turn to the court.

A few months later, Najah received doctor’s orders to remain in bed again, but the fear of losing the benefits on which her family relies led her to report at the EB. A short time later, Najah miscarried.

ISB withdrawn after claimant was referred to unsuitable work; “refusal to work” registered unlawfully; and proceedings contrary to EB Appeals Committee protocols

Amal’s story

Amal has serious back problems and suffers from clinical depression. Because of her health problems she has not worked during the last five years. After submitting a claim for income support at the NII, she began presenting herself at the EB as required.

When a claimant comes to the EB for the first time, the Bureau is required to inquire about their health (among other things), in order to avoid referring them to unsuitable work. In Amal’s case, no such inquiry was made and she was sent to unsuitable work. Fearing the loss of the ISB, Amal agreed to take any job, and thus in 2014 she found herself in cleaning work despite her back problems. After two months her health deteriorated, which led to her dismissal.

Only after this did Amal tell the EB about her health situation and ask for a meeting with the committee to determine her work capabilities. Her situation was discussed only after she repeated her request again and again. But several months after the discussion, and even after WAC-MAAN had intervened, Amal had still not received the committee’s decision – a situation that continues today. It must be noted that as long as a decision has been reached but has not been made known to Amal, she is unable to appeal it, whereas protocol requires that the committee’s decisions be made known immediately and that the written version be made accessible, with the minutes of the meeting, within 10 days.

Recently Amal was referred to another cleaning job. This time too, despite her health problems, Amal went to the interview to try to get the job. At the employer’s office she waited more than an hour and a half, until finally she asked one of the employees when she would be seen, mentioning that she also had a doctor’s appointment. The employee took her documents, returned a short time later, and gave them back. On the form it was stated that she had refused the job, although she had not been interviewed. She contacted the interviewer and emphasized that she wanted the job, and asked for the interview to be held, but she was sent away. The EB registered a refusal to work. Though Amal explained that she had not refused, and related what had happened, the clerk registered the refusal without making any inquiries of the employer – inquiries which, according to both protocol and labor court rulings, the EB must make in case of refusal, particularly when the jobseeker’s version is at odds with the version written on the form. The EB clerk violated protocol again when he failed to fill out a follow-up form which reports on the interview with the employer (which in this case had not occurred), and again when he failed to give Amal a form enabling her to explain her (supposed) refusal. According to protocol, when a follow-up form is missing, the EB must delete the refusal to work, regardless of the appeals committee – this too was not done.

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About Erez Wagner