Martine Vriens: Legal advice and guidance for EHS https://www.martinevriens.com/2018/09/24/succesvolle-praktijkvoorbeelden-op-grond-van-de-wmo/
Successful practical examples based on the “Wet Maatschappelijke Ondersteuning” (WMO)/ Social Support Act:
This is a sequel to my earlier contribution of June 2015. In this article I described the possibilities to get facilities – e.g. shielding your house against EMR – from the social support act. In this contribution I will discuss a number of successful practical examples that have been achieved since then.
People must be able to participate in society, function independently and remain in their own living environment for as long as possible. Under the Social Support Act, municipalities must promote this by providing facilities, help and support.
EHS among the target group of the Social Support Act:
In the earlier contribution I described that people who suffer from EMR can fall under the target group of this law. The Court of Arnhem has provided clarity about this. The court ruled that the target group of the law is not only limited to persons who have demonstrable limitations due to illness or lack of it, but has been extended to a wider group of people who experience problems in their self-reliance. However, municipalities are often still unfamiliar with the fact that restrictions that you may experience as a result of EMR can be a ground for granting a facility and often reject an application – on incorrect grounds.
It is therefore important that municipalities are aware of this and that they are aware of the fact that several municipalities have now provided facilities to people who have experienced health complaints from EMR.
Successful practical examples:
For example, in the judgment of the Arnhem District Court, the municipality referred to, after upholding the appeal, reimbursed to a person the costs of window film for his home in order to protect himself against sunlight and electromagnetic radiation from the transmission mast located in the vicinity of his home. The municipality also granted window film for his car.
In another case too, a municipality decided to grant electromagnetic protection film for the windows of a car on the basis of Article 4 of the Social Support Act. The municipality did this after investigating the (medical) situation. This investigation showed that the person with the said modification could solve the experienced problems. In this case, the applicant had also submitted medical certificates establishing the causal link between the health complaints and EMR exposure. In this case, both a Social Support Act consultant and doctor investigated the situation of the individual.
Furthermore, a case is currently pending before the Gelderland District Court. The application was rejected by the municipality because it was not a recognized disease. According to the judge, however, this was not a requirement to be able to qualify for the facility and the judge at the hearing instructed the municipality to conduct a careful investigation into the client’s situation. As stated in the earlier contribution, a municipality must always provide a tailor-made solution and someone may not be excluded from the Social Support Act on general grounds. The provision must also be in line with the actual needs of the person. This therefore seems to be in line with the judgment of the court.
In a municipality in Zeeland, a mother and daughter received help from the Social Support Act. Both suffered from health complaints from EMR. Together with the municipality they went through an extensive process and eventually they were eligible for a more suitable house.
In some cases a municipality chooses not to pay for facilities from the Social Support Act but from another source. One person applied for radiation protection paint plus supplies and a radiation protection curtain. Initially, the municipality indicated that it would immediately reject the application if it were to be submitted. In this case I provided the municipality with information – case law and granted applications – after which the municipality did process the application and a Social Support Act consultant visited the person at home to conduct an investigation. The municipality has granted a reasonable compensation in this case. Not from the Social Support Act but from a so-called decompartmentalisation fund. This is a fund that they have if people cannot clearly claim a certain provision on the basis of the rules, even though there is a problem.
Earlier, another municipality also wanted to give compensation from another fund. In that case I attended the conversation. It may therefore be advisable to involve someone who is familiar with the problem so that municipalities are properly informed about the possibilities of providing facilities.
For the earlier contribution I wrote for the EHS Bulletin of the EHS Foundation, see the publication of March 2015 “Adaptations in your home and the Social Support Act “: https://www.martinevriens.com/publicaties/