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The story of a blind pensioner: the first and successful step to free legal aid

The resident of Kherson Andrii Chukhray learned about an opportunity to receive help in Office of the Legal Development Network at the IRC "Legal Space" for a happy occasion: he was listening to the radio broadcast, devoted to the theme of free legal aid. It was at that time that he extremely needed the lawyer's help - and everything appeared even better than the man could imagine.

Andrii is the war-disabled (disability group I), completely blind. He came to the lawyer of the IRC "Legal Space" and the Kherson Office of the Network Serhii Plakhotniuk with a rather complicated problem for himself as the blind man.

The pensioner received a letter from PJSC "Khersongas" requesting to pay the debt for the consumed gas in the amount of UAH 481.75 and a warning that in case of failure to pay this amount within 10 days Andrii’s apartment will be disconnected from the gas supply.

Since Andrii has the status of the war-disabled and disability group I, he has the right to a 100% privilege to pay for housing and communal services, including gas services, which he enjoys.

"In accordance with Article 13 (4) of the Law of Ukraine" On the Status of War Veterans, Guarantees of Their Social Protection, "the disabled warriors have the right to a 100% discount on the use of housing (flat fee) within the limits prescribed by the current legislation (21 square meters of the total area of the housing for each person, who permanently resides in a residential building and has the right to a discount, and an additional 10.5 m2 per family)", explained Serhii Plakhotniuk.

According to Andrii, he always economically used gas, and therefore did not exceed (preferential) consumption norms, which are subject to this 100-percent privilege, so he did not have a fee for gas. And here is a letter about the debt and even threats!

However, it was found out that until recently his son was registered in his apartment, who was withdrawn from registration at this address in March 2017. At the same time, from the end of February, the son actually lived in Kryviy Rih, what could be fortunately confirmed by the supporting documents.

Serhii Plakhotniuk advised to make a statement (application) to PJSC "Khersongas" asking to check the correctness of the calculation of the debt and provide a calculation of this amount, if the validity of its calculation is confirmed. The statement was accompanied by certificates confirming that Andrii’s son was not registered in the apartment.

"When preparing the statement, as usual, I drafted the text in such a way that it could be effectively used in a possible future trial. I requested calculation of the amount of debt. And everything was even better than I expected”, said Serhii Plakhotniuk.

A letter from PJSC "Khersongas" stated: "Untimely delivery of documents caused the occurrence of arrears, but PJSC" Khersongas "found it possible to make adjustments for the number of registered non-residents at your address for more than 6 months after you have submitted the relevant documents”.

In addition, in the letter it was written that as of April 1, 2017, according to the readings of the gas meter, there is an overpayment in the amount of 53.42 UAH!

P.S. Offices of Legal Development Network are created and work with the financial support of Human Rights and Justice Program Initiative of International Renaissance Foundation. You can learn more about activity of Network, basics and principles of work on Legal Space website.

 The opinion of the International Renaissance Foundation cannot coincide with the point of view of authors of publication.

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