Relevant status issues of people with special needs in the Republic of Kazakhstan
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №8 - 2016
Author: Kozhuganova Dinara, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
The Republic of Kazakhstan positions itself
as a social society, which is explained by the intention of the state to sustain
deserving life of government and the people. However, like many other states, Kazakhstan faces various issues and legislative collisions that require scientific solution.
Including the matters of social care service and employment of people with
Due to the fact this article will be
devoted to the research of the series of issues related to the status of people
with special needs, and, also, solutions resolving these problems.
It is necessary to begin the research with
relevant issues regarding employment of people with special needs. These people
need special government policy. Nowadays, people with special needs have different
kinds of privileges in the taxation and employment lawmaking and housing
legislation, because of their vulnerable position in society. They are free of
paying governmental duties and fees, have lower taxation rates, primary
receivable of housing, have employment quotas, and this is not a complete list
of items in government care service.
So, a person with special needs is an
individual having health disorders resulting as constant body failures,
traumas, and defects leading to limited vital functions and a need of social
According to the UN data, there are about
450 million of people with physical and mental disabilities in the world. People
unable to work are treated with special care by any state. The main type of support
is financial help for these people (pensions, exemptions, and other benefits).
But these people need not only financial support, but also professional
Social security of people with special
needs is regulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Law
of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Social Security of People with Special Needs
in the Republic of Kazakhstan” and other legal acts.
The norms of employment and support of
local governmental executive bodies in order to provide professional education
are regulated in articles 31, 32 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Social Security of People with Special Needs in the Republic of Kazakhstan”. To fulfill the norms, in every region of Kazakhstan akims introduced 3% employment
quotas of overall amount of work places. However, indeed, employment of people
with special needs is not going up to 3%. It is rather hard to employ these
people on the workplaces covered by quotas. One of the reasons of employers’ denial
to hire people with special needs is their inability to use their labor on
current vacancies because of their physical defects and lack of work places.
It is necessary to increase the employment
rate of people with special needs. Educated individuals with special needs
should work at the places where they can work, and if there are no such places,
they should be created. There is legal data base and budget annually given out
by the government to create work places for these kinds of individuals [2, p.
Besides, we would like to draw your
attention to the fact that not every item of abovementioned articles is being
fully implemented. We think that the following legal statements within
governmental programs are not well-developed:
- creating work places for people with
special needs through development of entrepreneurship, small and medium businesses;
- creating special and social work places
for employment of people with special needs according to the Laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- arrangement of professional education for
people with special needs (article 31 paragraphs 2,3,4 of the before mentioned
The goal of this proposal is to encourage
people with special needs to do steady jobs and to become successful entrepreneurs.
The Lawmaking does not consider the fact
that an employer needs a worker, not a person with disabilities. A full labor
rehabilitation means to turn a person with disabilities into a worker. However,
we need special conditions for that. The most effective order of actions is to
turn a person with special needs into a worker and then employ them, but not
the other way around. Professional training and education of people with
special needs is the main aspect of their professional rehabilitation [3, p.
Most of unemployed people with disabilities
in the Republic of Kazakhstan are the people with general secondary education
without professional training.
Special education institutions do not
prepare people with disabilities well enough to make them competitive, and some
of them prepare professionals who will definitely not be needed. It is mainly
defined by the following reasons: professionals of Medical-social expert commission
(MSEC), who organize professional orientation of people with disabilities do
not have enough information about entering requirements to higher education
institutions and other educational institutions, and rely on the will of people
with disabilities themselves; people with special needs do not have enough
information about requirements of entering higher education institutions.
Educational institutions are not accommodated
for people who need special equipment and special methodology of education.
Because of that, the number of majors appropriate for such people is limited
and professional prejudices are formed [4, p. 7].
In order to organize professional education
for people with special needs we propose to organize “Service Sector for People
with Special Needs” with the help of executive bodies, which will be supplied
with special equipment and utilities for working with people with special needs
(hand rails, wheeled chairs, etc.). The main goal of the sector is to teach
computer literacy, taxation, getting services online, provide psychological
help to adapt to current market conditions, teaching how to find a job, and
other services related to rehabilitation of people with special needs and
protection of their legitimate rights and interests. To make it more
convenient, we propose to place it on the first floors of the buildings of
local executive bodies of all levels (from republican up to municipal) [5, p.
What will it do? Increase of motivation to
study and increase of education level among people with disabilities. With the
growth of the level of professional preparation grows the qualification
self-assessment and the certainty of future success.
The creation of legislative basis of social
protection of people with disabilities provides additional guarantees of employment.
However, the normative basis of social protection and the mechanism of labor
supply still need further improvement. In order to complete it, we need:
1) to add the norms protecting people with
special needs from discrimination and from unfounded denial of job applications.
For that to the Article 222 “Realization of Rights to Work by People with
Special Needs” of the Labor Codex of the Republic of Kazakhstan  paragraph 3
should be added: “Unfounded denial of hiring or signing a job agreement leads
to amenability according to the Laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan”;
2) to establish additional guarantees and
additional social benefits for people with special needs fired by employer’s initiative.
For that to the Article 32 “Rights of People with Special Needs in the Field
of Labor Relationships” of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Social Protection
of the Population” paragraph 4 should be added, to the Article 56 “The Order of
Cancellation of the Employment Contract by the Employer’s Initiative” of the
Labor Codex of the Republic of Kazakhstan paragraph 9 should be added
mentioning: “Firing people with disabilities, parents, custodians of children
with disabilities, including drawing down, excluding firing because of proved
reasons, is not allowed without agreement of social organizations protecting
people with special needs.” People with special needs should have a privilege
to stay at work in a case of drawing down;
3) to establish the reliable normative acts considering work place
costs, which will allow to fine employers denying people with special needs to
provide work places guaranteed by quotas.
Professional rehabilitation of people with
special needs together with their further employment is financially beneficial
for the government, because the money spent on the rehabilitation will be drawn
back as taxes that are the results of employment. The attention to the people
with special needs should be more focused. Kazakhstan should become a place of
free choice for them. To take care of these people, whose number is not few, is
our duty and civil obligation. People do it all around the world. People with
special needs can be involved in domestic services, food industry, agriculture
[7, p. 36].
One of the most important aspects of the
status of people with disabilities is improving the lawmaking of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the sphere of special at-home services for the elderly people
[8, p. 58]. Human Rights Commissioner in the Republic of Kazakhstan prepared a
report “On Following the Rights of Elderly People in the Republic of Kazakhstan” as the most vulnerable social group, where he described all the issues that our
elderly people face.
Unfortunately, for the latest years, the
quality of life of elderly population has not been dramatically improved, and a
lot of problems mentioned in the Report have not been solved despite the
innovations in lawmaking, and they are still relevant.
According to the analysis of the needs of
veterans and workers of the rear (social fund “The Council of Veterans”) the
most important problems have been worked out:
1) Lack of high quality social services at-home for lonely people and
elderly people with special needs.
2) Lack of access to the social services at-home for the most needy
elderly people because of legislative and bureaucratic barriers.
3) Lack of effective protection of elderly people and elderly people
with special needs from domestic violence and other unlawful actions.
According to the analysis of the abovementioned
problems and current lawmaking of the Republic of Kazakhstan the author
proposes the solutions considering both worldwide and the UN experience in
providing support for socially vulnerable individuals.
According to the statistic data, on average,
a social worker supports 7-8 people. Besides, the organization of social help
at-home is given a rather low amount of money for this individual. Monthly salary
of a social worker is a little bit more than 40000 tenge.
In the abovementioned Report of the Human
Rights Commissioner in the Republic of Kazakhstan (section 3.3. Social services
for elderly people) low development level of the social services, low level of
workers' professionalism, lack of branches of social support at-home and social
workers are mentioned as the main problems.
Since the time of publishing of the report,
in 2008 the Law “On Special Social Services” has been established, on the basis
of which the Standard of Special Social Services (SSSS) was created to support
the population at-home . Currently, the Standard of 2015 is functioning
However, according to the analysis of the
standards and legal practices the problems in this sphere are still taking
1) Impossibility of practical implementation of the Standards because
of the current system of using social services workers’ labor.
The Standard (Chapter 5) lists the types of
services, including social, medical, psychological, cultural, economic, legislative
services, which the social worker should perform for elder people. Also the
Standard discusses the requirements for the quality of the services. If we take
a certain set of social and legal services, we can see the following services
and their requirements:
2) consulting of the recipients on the legislative topics (civil,
accommodation, family, labor, pension, criminal and other legal issues) gives
them full understanding of their rights and laws protecting them according to
3) helping with complains on misacting or inappropriate actions from government
representatives means helping to explain the issue correctly, to ask for its
elimination and send the letter to recipient;
In total, there are 45 types of services
for elderly people in the Standard, and one sector explains 11 types of social-legislative
services only. But only looking at this example, we understand such work can be
done only by a qualified lawyer, not a social worker, who should also be a
qualified medic, psychologist, economist, etc. However, it is impossible,
because there is not any higher educational institution that can prepare this
kind of a specialist who can fulfill all the types of services from the
We must notice that the question of the
social worker’s qualification is discussed very poorly in the Law: in the Article
1 paragraph 6 the social worker is defined as a person performing special
social services and (or) performing an assessment and definition of the needs
of the special social services, having necessary qualification meeting the very
requirements. The term “necessary qualification” refers to the order of the
Minister of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan (March 16, 2009) № 134 “On
Confirmation of Qualification Requirements to the Social Workers in the Sphere
of Healthcare and the Rules of their Attestation”, which says that a social
worker must have higher education degree in the sphere of social services with
medical, psychological and pedagogical profiles. Which means that qualification
requirements are valid only for social workers who perform social-medical
services, the rest of which are not covered. However, to perform legislative
and economic assistance social workers should have a degree in those spheres
Also the Standard states the Minimum of the
staff members in the organization of this type, which states that a social
worker should work with 8 elderly people and people with special needs at least
twice a week. According to the statistics, a social worker can spend maximum
2,5 hours visiting a person during a 40 hour-work week. The logical question
is: What kind of services a social worker can perform during 2,5 hours?
Practically, according to the data provided by the veterans and workers of the
rear and given by the social fund “The Council of Veterans”, the social workers
perform only a minimum of the required services – they clean the apartments,
buy food and medication spending the money of the elderly people. It cannot be
said that they cover the whole list of domestic assistance, including help with
food preparation, stoking the fire, delivery of woods, coal and drinking water
, giving clothes to the laundry or dry cleaner's, mending and redelivery; help
with washing, repairs arrangement, house cleaning, etc. In fact, besides the
certain types of domestic assistance, elderly people are deprived of other
social services .
So, the Standard cannot be implemented
because of the obvious reasons: the required services are neither performed nor
their quality is very low because of insufficient usage of social workers' labor.
The system of helping elder people and
people with special needs at home should be significantly changed. Instead of
having one worker doing everything, it would be more rational to have different
mobile groups of social workers for different spheres. A team of social workers
should have different categories of professionals, who would perform social services
- doctor-gerontologist, psychologist, economist, lawyer, cook, and technical
For the coordination and interaction of the
teams of social help a unified service desk, a hot line, should be created, so
people would be able to address in case of emergency, to get a qualified legal
The work of social workers' teams will help
to achieve the following qualitative changes:
1) Increasing service quality for elderly people's needs, even in case
2) Decrease of recipient's dependence on a social worker, and
prevention of unlawful actions done by social workers.
3) Rational usage of knowledge, professional and personal skills of the
social workers, differential approach to social worker's labor.
4) Possibility of regular monitoring and assessment of the performed
The system of social services provided by
special teams can also include fee-paying services for elderly people and
people with special needs who live with their adult children and relatives on
their account, as taking care of elderly people requires certain knowledge and
skills which may not be guaranteed at home. Because of that fee-paying services
the governmental organization will be able to provide a part of its own budget
which will lessen the pressure of governmental budget and provide an
opportunity to hire additional staff and increase salaries while making this
job more wanted on labor market.
2) The current Standard is not involving
all elderly people who need special services.
According to the law “On Special Social
Services (SSS)” SSS are performed for people with hard living situation (Article
1), including “disability to help yourself because of old age, illness, and
(or) physical disability.” (Article 6, paragraph 7).
However, the Standard limits the audience
of elderly people who can have SSS performed (paragraphs 5(4)): "SSS are
performed for people with special needs and elderly people after their retirement,
unable to take care of themselves and having a need of SSS at home, not having
working adult children, obliged by the law to take care of their parents, or
not having close relatives who cannot perform assistance because of legitimate
reasons (old age, physical disability of I, II groups, oncological,
psychological diseases, convicts or they moved to a foreign country or live in
We consider that the current Standard does
not include the people who live with their adult children but suffer from abuse
from their side, including physical, psychological, economic abuse. Indeed,
elderly people rarely address the police explaining their unwillingness to
worsen the relationship with their abusive children. Those people are not
eligible for having SSS at home because of their adult children, but the
Standard does not consider the psychological and emotional climate in the
family. Even if those people move out from their children's, they will still
not be eligible for the SSS.
We suggest to introduce other additional
reasons of having SSS at home to the Standard; the reasons that do not give any
right for adult children to take care of their disabled children: “In
exceptional cases by the decision of the legislative unit and recommendations
from specialized social organizations working with elderly people (for example
“The Council of Veterans”) the SSS can be performed for elderly people, people
with physical disability of the first, second groups having close adult
relatives who can work and the cohabitation with whom is impossible due to
conflicts.” This norm will allow to protect elderly people from the abuse, and
will let them move out having a qualitative treatment from social workers.
We consider that those changes will lead to
the following positive consequences:
1) Increase of social services quality for elderly people, preventing
their social isolation.
2) Increase of the quality of life of elderly people, their lifespan,
and the population of the country.
3) Increase of legislative culture of elderly people: knowing their
rights will let them to defend their rights and lessen a chance of unlawful
actions towards them.
In the context of afore mentioned, we can
state that a new law protecting elderly people is necessary. While considering
that we addressed the statistics. By January 1st, 2017 10% of the population of
Kazakhstan are retired . This is a special group of people that have
special needs and that cannot sustain themselves financially without support.
That is why they need special protection from the government.
Nowadays there are no universal legislative
act stating the rights and freedoms of elderly people and covering all the
aspects of social protection, including pension coverage, health and medical
care, social service, access to cultural events, leisure activities, etc. These
kinds of acts are implemented towards other socially vulnerable groups such as
children (The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On the Rights of Children in
the Republic of Kazakhstan”) , people with special needs (The Law of the
Republic of Kazakhstan “On Protection of People with Special Needs on the
Territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan”) . However, with the age there are
special needs that could be satisfied by the government. Instead of that, there
are several different unrelated legislative acts, regulating different types of
legal relationships with elderly people: for example, The Law of the Republic
of Kazakhstan “On Pension Coverage”, The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On
Exemptions and Social Care of the Participants and Disabled Veterans of the
World War II” and Equated" and others. As a result, not all the needs of
elderly people are equally covered by the law.
It is important to notice that according to
the international standards on following the rights of elderly people stated in
Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging of 1982, clause 68 “The social services
should be aimed at maximum performance of their functions done by elderly people;
should have an ability to provide a wide range of services to let elderly
people be independent, active and profitable members of society” . Despite
the significant number of elderly people, there is no special institution
providing care of elderly people in Kazakhstan. On contrast, there is a
Committee of Protection of Children’s Rights at the Ministry of Education and
Science. Even though there are Councils of Veterans in every major city, these
institutions do not work with every elderly person. Because of absence of unified
legislative act and any institution in charge elderly people do not know their
rights and where they can address in case of their rights realization or
violation [17, p. 35].
Our society is accustomed to treating
elderly with respect and children are obliged to take care of elderly parents
due to the eastern culture. However, practically, it appears to be rather a
suggestion than reality. We have a lot of lonely elderly people, who even have
working adult children. As it has been mentioned before, there are a lot of
cases of abuse and social isolation of elderly people. And, finally, elderly
people, more often than anybody else, become victims of fraud and other
unlawful actions because of their age and physiological conditions.
Unfortunately, you cannot just rely on traditions in the aforementioned
scenarios. Moreover, our government states itself as a legislative state, not
as a traditional one. That is why, the rights and needs of elderly people
should be protected by the statute of the law.
Thus, we propose to introduce the following
changes in the laws:
1) Accept a unified law “On the Rights of Elderly People in the Republic of Kazakhstan”, which will unite all the main rights, freedoms and guarantees of
elderly people as one of the most vulnerable groups of people.
2) On the basis of the law create an authorized body that will protect
elderly people and provide them with social service. Elderly people should be
able to address the local branches of that body to be assisted with their
problems. Also this body should be able to control the actions of other
governmental and non-governmental bodies towards elderly people. The
international experience is widely approved (Russia, Great Britain, the USA).
3) Following the example of the Committee of Protection of Children’s
Rights at the Ministry of Education and Science, this body should have a hot
line that could consult elderly people, especially the immobile ones, who could
complain about the cases of domestic violence, unlawful actions from state
representatives, social workers, etc. The analysis of the inquiries will help
to learn a more accurate needs analysis and develop a more effective
gerontological strategy of the nation.
All the following changes will help to
achieve the very social reforms:
1) Increase of quality of social protection for elderly people,
prevention of their social isolation.
2) Increase of the quality of life of elderly people, their lifespan,
and the population of the country. It is important to mention because,
currently, the average lifespan of people is a little bit more than 70 years
old. Kazakhstan takes 150th place among other countries.
3) Increase of legislative culture of elderly people: knowledge of
their rights will help elderly people to defend themselves from unlawful acts.
4) Increase of activity of elderly people who are motivated to be
active members of society, who participate in upbringing of younger
generations, including developing of patriotism.
The issues of provision and protection of
rights of elderly people are related to everyone. Once we will grow old, and
our living conditions will depend on us. If we do not take actual measures to
improve the lawmaking in this sphere today, tomorrow we will be in the same
state, being unprotected and dependent on our children and grand children. Like
modern elderly people, we would have nothing else but rely on decency and good
relationships with our relatives in particular and society in general.
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №8 - 2016