Poliomyelitis, more commonly known simply as polio, is a disease of the nervous system caused by the polio virus. A vaccination against the polio virus was first put into use in Israel in the late 1950s. There are many people in Israel who suffer from significant neurological problems as a result of having contracted polio during childhood, especially epidemics of the early 1950's. Post-Polio Syndrome is a resurgence of the disease about 45 years after the initial infection, which occurs in some of those stricken with polio. Those with Post-Polio Syndrome suffer from increased muscular atrophy, neurological effects, and may experience increased irritability and other severe emotional hardships, as well. In recent years monitoring tests conducted in a number of locations in the south showed the polio virus in the sewage system. Thus the Ministry of Health has started an immunization program for children born from 01.01.2004 and onward who have not received the OPV vaccine but received one dose of the IPV vaccine. For more information see the Ministry of Health website
Medications and the Healthcare System
- The National Health Insurance Law states that those affected by polio can receive financial assistance for medical treatments, medical equipment and medical appliances required to treat the illness, even if they are not included in the health services basket.
- As part of this framework, the Ministry of Health provides financial assistance towards the purchase of walking devices, including replacing medical shoes once every two years (or for children, according to their needs), as well as financial assistance towards the purchase of mobility devices.
- Those inflicted with polio and post-polio are eligible to receive treatment at medical centers specializing in the polio disease. For more information see Specialized Medical Service.
Polio Victims Compensation
- The Polio Victims Compensation Law 2007, states that anyone who has disability due to Polio is entitled to a one time compensation and monthly pension benefit or to a grant instead of the pension, according to the degree of disability or incapacity.
- Eligibility is given to Israeli residents who contracted the disease in Israel. (For the period of 01.02.2012 to 03.01.2015 Israeli Residents who contracted the disease abroad, can also make claim, provided that they were operated on in Israel due to the disease until 01.01.1970. )
- According to the Supreme Court Decision 10771/07 someone who contracted polio before the establishment of the State is also entitled to on condition that they contracted the disease within the borders of Israel as defined by the 1949 Armistice agreement.
- One-time compensation eligibility is determined by the rate of disability related to polio determined by a National Insurance Institute medical committee:
- Compensation amounts correct as of 2019:
- Up to 74% disability –a one time grant of 61,374 NIS.
- Disability between 75% and 94% - a one time grant of 122.752 NIS.
- Disability of 95% and above – a one time grant of 147,301 NIS.
- The compensation is paid in 2 equal payments: the first payment after the compensation is approved and the second a year later.
- For information on amounts paid in previous years see the National Insurance Institute website.
- Someone for whom medical disability or limited mobility of at least 20% has been established is entitled to a monthly benefit.
- Someone with 100% disability or limited mobility is entitled to a full benefit equal to half the average wage, which is 5,137 NIS per month, correct for 2019.
- Someone with less than 100% disability or limited mobility is entitled to a pension that will be calculated proportionally according to the percent of disability determined for him.
- People inflicted with post-polio are eligible to have their monthly benefit changed based on the changing severity and deterioration of their condition.
Important: Entitlement to a monthly benefit is considered completely separate from all other entitlements, and does not affect other benefits which someone affected by polio may receive, (such as a General Disability Pension, Monthly Mobility Allowance for Vehicle Owners/Monthly Mobility Allowance for Non-Vehicle Owners).
- Someone who has defined medical disability or mobility disability which is lower than 20%, is entitled to a one-time grant instead of a monthly benefit.
- The grant's amount is determined according to the following calculation: The proportional amount of the monthly benefit which would be paid, multiplied by 70.
Filing a Claim for Compensation, Pension or Grant for Polio Victims
- Important to know:
- Yad Mechavent provides free legal aide and assistance to those filling a claim.
- The law establishes regulations about limiting assistance funding or representation claim for polio patients.
- A Polio Victims Compensation Claim Form must be filled out in order to receive the one-time compensation, grant or monthly benefit.
- The claim may be filed at the person's local National Insurance Institute branch, and this office will transfer the claim to one of the 4 branches that deals with these claims.
- The claim may also be submitted directly to one of the following four branches responsible for polio patients:
- Beer Sheva branch: Responsible for patients treated in the Ashdod, Eilat, Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Dimona, and Sderot branches.
- Hadera branch: Responsible for patients treated in the Hadera, Haifa, Tiberias, Carmiel, Migdal Haemek, Merar, Nahariya, Nazareth, Nazareth Illit, Akko, Afula, Safed, Krayot, Kiryat Shmona, and Shfaram branches.
- Jerusalem branch: Responsible for patients treated in the Jerusalem, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi, Rishon Lezion, and Rehovot branches.
- Ramat Gan branch: Responsible for patients treated in the Beit Shemesh, Bnei Brak, Bat Yam, Herzliya, Jaffa, Holon, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Petach Tikva, Ramle, Ramat Gan, and Tel Aviv branches.
- As part of the claim handling process, the relevant data currently possessed by the National Insurance Institute will also be examined for those who filed a claim for a General Disability Pension, Mobility Benefit or Special Services Benefit in the past.
- Polio patients who have not previously been tested by a specialist or a medical committee to receive a general disability pension, mobility benefit or special services benefit are required to attach medical documentation to the claim so that the rate of disability may be determined.
- Likewise, those who have been tested in the past for other pension claims and have updated documents that have not yet been submitted to the National Insurance Institute should attach those documents to their claim.
- Polio patients who were not born in Israel are required to attach documentation proving that they contracted polio in Israel.
- Those who are interested in having their percentage of disability determined in their absence, by documentation alone, should sign off indicating as such in the appropriate section on the claim form. Even so, a medical specialist can decide that the person has to come in for an evaluation with the medical committee.
- According to section 5 of the Polio Compensation Law, those with polio are entitled to submit a request to be checked every 6 months if they think that their situation has worsened due to the polio. A deterioration of 10% or more will raise the person's monthly benefit in accordance with the established monthly disability rates.
Disability and Pensions
- In the case of polio there are two options through which one can receive the pensions:
- A person can be recognized as having a general disability by the National Insurance Institute and receive a General Disability Pension and the additional benefits that come with it.
- Polio is recognized as an occupational disease by the National Insurance Institute, and a person can receive a Disability Pension and Disability Grant for Work Injury Victims and the additional benefits that come with it.
- A person must meet the conditions entitling him to a general disability pension and a work disability pension, but he will have to choose between the allowances and can not accept both.
- Prior to submitting the claim, it is recommended to seek professional advice in order to make an informed decision regarding the most appropriate pension track.
Establishing General Disability
- In order to determine general disability, Submitting a General Disability Pension Claim.
- One who's earning capacity has decreased by at least 50% is entitled to a General Disability Pension from the National Insurance Institute.
- Polio victims that are wheelchair bound may be eligible for an Expedited Process ("Fast Track") for Submitting a General Disability Pension Claim.
- Parents of children who are sick with polio may be eligible for a disabled child's benefit. For more information see Disabled Child Benefit and Related Benefits.
- Important to note:There are various benefits given because of medical disability, also for those that are not eligible for a disability benefit.
- For additional information see Disability Pension and Related Benefits
Establishing Work Disability based on Occupational Disease
- An employee who became ill as a result of his workplace conditions, and was paid an injury allowance, and became disabled because of the workplace injury, may be eligible for a Disability Pension and Disability Grant for Work Injury Victims.
- In order to have polio recognized as an occupational disease and have the person recognized as a workplace disability victim, a Workplace Disability claim should be submitted.
- For more information regarding submitting a workplace disability claim and other various benefits, see Work Disability.
- Those who have limited mobility may be eligible for a Mobility Benefit which includes a pension, loans to purchase a vehicle, and other benefits.
- Polio victims who have been determined by the National Insurance Institute to have a medical disability of at least 60% and who also need a significant amount of help performing daily, routine tasks, may also be eligible for a Special Services Benefit (Attendance Allowance).
- One who has reached retirement age, lives in the community, and needs assistance in their daily living maybe eligible for Long-Term Care Benefit.
- Someone who is disabled as the result of polio, who works and pays income tax, may receive an income tax exemption according to the severity of the disability and the determined disability rate (the criteria are examined according to general disability rates).
- Someone who is paralyzed with permanent disability of at least 50% is entitled to a Purchase Tax Discount on Residential Property for People with Disabilities.
Certificate of Disability
- Certificate of Disability polio victims are given an monthly stipend that entitles them to benefits such as:
Assistance in Housing Modifications
- Someone whose movement or functioning have become restricted are entitled to receive financial assistance to help pay for interior and exterior housing modifications.
Discounts and Exemptions
- Local authorities provide Municipal Property Tax (Arnona) Discount for People with Disabilities
- Disabled Parking Permit and Exemption from License Fee (including registration fee discount eligibility)
- Discounts on Bezeq telephone services
- Additional discounts are granted to recipients of a general disability and are listed in the portal, Disability Pension and Related Benefits.
- Israeli Association for Polio Victims
- Umbrella Organization of Organizations for the Disabled in Israel
- Israeli Human Rights Organization of People With Disabilities (HaMa'avak)
Laws & Regulations
- Polio Victims Compensation Law
- National Insurance Regulations (insurance for workplace injury victims) - 1954
- Information about polio victims compensation on The National Insurance Institute website.
- Original translation performed by The Shira Pransky Project as part of a grant from The Fellowship Fund.