Social Security and Welfare Rights

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Undocumented workers should be granted equal rights, states the Inter-American Commission

Leopoldo Zumaya and Francisco Berumen Lizalde were both injured on the job while working without work authorization in the United States. Each sustained long-term physical damage and were denied access to compensation solely because of their immigration status. Mr. Zumaya filed a workers’ compensation claim but had to settle for a fraction of what he would have received if he had been a U.S. legal permanent resident or citizen. Mr. Lizalde was arrested and deported to Mexico – seemingly in direct response to his workers’ compensation claim – and therefore was unable to pursue it. 

The plaintiffs were recipients of the federal program Aid to Families with Dependent Children or the New York State program Home Relief who alleged that New York officials terminated or were about to terminate their benefits under the programs without notice or hearing. When the suit was filed, no rules were in place requiring that recipients be given notice or a hearing before losing their benefits. Before this appeal occurred, the state and city of New York adopted procedures for notice and hearing. The plaintiffs then challenged the adequacy of the new procedures.

The applicant Phakamile Ranelo brought a complaint before the Eastern Cape High Court against the South African Social Security Agency alleging that the State had unlawfully terminated his disability grant. South African regulations oblige the Social Security Agency to have informed Ranelo, in writing, of his approval for a disability grant, its temporary nature, and his right to appeal its temporary status. Ranelo argued he received no such prior notice, so his belief in his grant’s permanent nature was valid.

Ninety-year-old Eduardo Navia brought this tutela action seeking to receive disability payments from the State. He had undergone heart surgery in May 1998 and January 2008, with both surgeries limiting his ability to work. Relying on a certification of disability issued by the Social Security Agency (ISS) Section of Bolivar on September 14, 2007, he applied for disability benefits to the ISS on October 5, 2007. The ISS determined his date of disability to be March 6, 2007, but denied his application claiming that he had failed to comply with the requirements of Art.

IELSUR, ESCR-Net and the NGO Coalition for an OP-ICESCR organized an open public event and workshop on strategic litigation under the OP-ICESCR on August 14-15 in Montevideo.  Leading domestic organizations in Uruguay attended the event.

Country: 
Philippines
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
Women & ESCR
Corporate Accountability
Social Movements & Grassroots Groups

Petitioners challenged the 2009 decision of the State of Massachusetts to exclude a group of legal immigrants from its Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Program. Plaintiffs alleged that such exclusion violated the Equal Protection Clause recognized by the Constitution of Massachusetts.

Country: 
Sri Lanka
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
Women & ESCR
Corporate Accountability
Social Movements & Grassroots Groups
Economic Policy
OP-ICESCR
Country: 
United Kingdom
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
OP-ICESCR

Petitioners, pensioners of the Latvian State, challenged the constitutionality of the Law on State Pension and State Allowance Disbursement in the period from 2009 to 2012 (hereinafter the "Disbursement Law"), which had been passed in an effort to reduce the State's budget deficit.  The overall economy was rapidly declining in 2009, and the Latvian Parliament argued that it had to act quickly to respond to the country's economic crisis.  The law decreased the amount received by current pensioners by 10% and decreased the pensions of future pensioners (individuals currently employed) by 70%.