News / 18.09.18

"I buy cheapest chicken meat and eat soups only": how people live after work injuries

The FINANCE.TUT.BY has asked workers how they live after work injuries, how much money they have, and how difficult it is to find a new job after an accident.

In last October, Gennady Litvinov was hired by a saw-mill located in the city of Rechitsa. He started working without documents, as his bosses promised to duly document his employment a bit later. In a month, he injured his arm and stayed in hospital for about four months.

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At first, the employer tried to prove that Gennady never worked at the saw-mill. However, at the court he managed to prove the opposite. The court also ruled after the conclusion of the special medical commission that his trauma was a work injury. In May this year, Gennady received the first payment – about BYN 200 for the elapsed two months. Now, he is paid about BYN 100 a month.

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"So far, live on this money. Children sometimes help me, but they are not properly arranged themselves – they have to rent apartments to live in," Gennady has admitted.

The amount of Gennady's allowance could be higher (about BYN 170), but the amount was reduced due to the fact that he had worked in Russia for 8 years – they were not included into his work record.

He tried to find some additional work, as living on that money is practically impossible.

"In summer, I gathered and sold berries – it helped a little. I make the most necessary payments, utility bills, and by the cheapest food – chicken meat, for example. Basically, I survive on soups."

In a few weeks, the medical commission will define his final disability and the percent of capability loss. This will define the size of Gennady's second benefit.

"The current payment for the disability group may be cancelled in a year, but the disability loss benefit will be life-long. It can be around BYN 160."

Now, Gennady looks for official employment in Rechitsa. Because of his partial disability, enterprises are closed to him, but it is difficult to find a "quiet" vacancy, where the hands are not actively used.

"My right hand doesn't really work – I can't grasp anything and hold it. A watchman or a janitor – these workplaces are immediately occupied by acquaintances, because fire-fighters and militiamen retire early and are welcomed at these jobs. If I find nothing, I'll have to get registered at an employment centre."

"To buy a frig, you need to save money for many months"

Alexander Klimov is a former worker of the Gomel Chemical Factory. He was injured in 2011, but only four years later his injury was recognized as a work trauma. From that time on, he regularly receives his benefit.

"Amounts are different, some BYN 110-130. The sum depends on the percentage of disability, defined by a special medical commission. I was awarded ten percent of capability loss.

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Six months before his injury, Alexander retired early because of harmful working conditions when he turned 50.

"Therefore, my situation is slightly better than that of other traumatized workers. Plus, my wife still works – I call her 'my sponsor.' Children are already adult; we have grandchildren. I can't say that I'm happy. I could say that if I was healthy and full of energy. Besides, my salary used to be above average. We weren't wealthy, but at least there was enough money."

Alexander's pension is BYN 400 because of his large working record.

"Of course, we aren't starving… But if we want to buy a refrigerator or a winter coat, we must save money for more than a month. Fortunately, I have no bad habits – I don't smoke and drink alcohol."

Alexander has repeatedly tried to get a job, but his age and trauma are serious obstacles; besides, because of plenty of restrictions, he has to agree his potential workplace with the medical commission.

He tried to get a job as a watchman at a polyclinic, but when they saw that he is using a walking stick, they explained that in case of an emergency, it would be difficult for him to quickly walk around the three floors of the building.

"I had to leave city for countryside"

Alexander Beresnyov, 48, worked as a security guard in one of the shops of the "Belorusneft-Osobino" Company. Once, he was beaten up in his workplace, after which he received Category III disability. His injuries were considered as work traumas.

"Now, I live on compensation. At the moment, the allowance makes about BYN 150. I moved from the city to the countryside – from Gomel to Uvarovichi. In Gomel, all this money is spent to pay utility bills."

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Alexander has been living on this money for ten years. Before his trauma, he worked on two jobs – as a guard and a driving instructor. Now, he is allowed to work, but cannot find permanent employment.

"I keep a sort of a farm in the village: chickens, pigs and a land plot. I stock up everything possible – gather berries and mushrooms, conserve vegetables and fruits. I buy bread and milk only."

Once a year, Alexander can go to a sanatorium for 18 days, however, he cannot receive money instead – about BYN 1000.

"Plus, twice a year, I go to the hospital, where the prophylactic treatment costs BYN 150. I buy medicine at my own expense, then I submit checks to the "Belgosstrakh" (insurance company), and they compensate me for the cost thereof."

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