In the case, the аpplication successfully addressed a аpplication about a reduction in the amount of the disability pension previously assigned to the applicant, whose work capacity subsequently decreased further. The case involved a violation of the requirements of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
In 2014, the applicant was assisted in preparing the аpplication. Subsequently, the аpplication was communicated to Slovenia.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant, who had a disability, received benefits. A few years later, he suffered a shoulder injury, and as a result of a review of his work capacity, it was ascertained that his ability to work was further reduced.
Meanwhile, the relevant legislation was amended, and due to a change in the law, his disability benefit was reduced after reassessing to less than half the amount he had previously received. The applicant's аpplications about this decision did not yield results.
At the Court, the applicant complained that a decrease in the benefit in respect of his disability violated his rights under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention. If the authorities of the State Party have existing legislation providing for payment as a right to social benefits, this legislation should be considered as generating property interest related to the scope of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to persons satisfying its requirements. If the amount of the benefit is reduced or canceled, this constitutes an interference with property that requires justification. Any intervention must be reasonably proportionate to the objective pursued. The required fair balance will not be established if the person concerned carries an individual or excessive burden. The new legislation provided that those persons who acquired rights under the former system continue to use them after its entry into force. This reinforced the applicant's legitimate expectation of continuing to receive benefits after the reform of the law. Only when his disability was found to be aggravated, a fact that he could hardly predict and prepare for it, he was affected by the new legislation.
The different treatment of two groups of unemployed disabled workers: those whose disability has remained unchanged and whose disability has deteriorated, which resulted in the applicant's sudden disqualification of his disability allowance and the simultaneous additional restriction of labor opportunities, attached great importance to the assessment of the issue of proportionality. Of significant importance is the fact that the applicant was an unemployed person and obviously had difficulties in obtaining paid work in connection with his disability. This vulnerability was exactly the one that this disability benefit should have eliminated. The reduction in disability benefits, which seriously affected his livelihood, was not mitigated by any transitional measure that allowed him to adapt to the new situation.
The reform of the legislation on pensions and disability insurance served a legitimate purpose and led to an increase in the employment of disabled people. However, despite the wide margin of appreciation of the state in this area, the applicant was forced to bear an excessive individual burden that undermined the fair balance that should be established between the protection of property and the requirements of common interest.
There has been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (unanimously).
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awarded the applicant EUR 10,000 in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage.