A drastic reduction in disability benefits brings upside-downs in citizens’ property in contravention of the ECHR

JUDGMENT

Baczúr v. Hungary 7-3-2017 (no. 8263/15)

see here 

SUMMARY

Right to property. Disability Allowance. Reduction of the disability allowance by approximately 75% for 1.5 years. The European Court of Human Rights has held that there has been a violation of Article 1 of the First Protocol for violation of his right to property.

PROVISION

Article 1 of the 1st Additional Protocol

PRINCIPAL FACTS

The applicant, István Baczúr, is a Hungarian national who was born in 1958 and lives in Nagykozár (Hungary). Relying in particular on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the
European Convention, he complained of a significant decrease in the benefit he had received on account of his reduced capacity to work.

Following the enactment of Act no. CXCI of 2011 on the Benefits Granted to Persons with Reduced Work Capacity, Mr Baczúr applied for disability benefit. He had previously been receiving a net sum of HUF 156,585 per month (approximately EUR 510) as a rehabilitation allowance, on account of a 50% loss of his capacity to work. Following an assessment under the new law, his state of health was rated at 46%, and from 1 July 2012 onwards he was provided with only HUF 41,850 per month (later raised to HUF 55,800 – approximately EUR 140). His attempts to challenge the decision in court failed. The new rate of payment lasted until 2014, when a further legislative amendment made Mr Baczúr entitled to a payment of HUF 159,100 per month (approximately EUR 520), retroactively applicable as of 1 January 2014.

Mr Baczúr complained that the drastic decrease in his monthly disability allowance, which had prevailed between 1 July 2012 and 31 December 2013, had amounted to an unjustified deprivation
of possessions in view of the fact that his underlying medical condition had not changed.

THE DECISION OF THE COURT

Violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1

Just satisfaction: 5,000 euros (EUR) (pecuniary damage), EUR 5,000 (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 9,000 (costs and expenses)


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