Wounded Swedish soldiers in benefits battle
Published: 22 May 2010 12:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 May 2010 12:46 GMT+02:00
Four Swedish soldiers seriously injured in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan are facing a new battle on the home front: the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) is refusing to pay them benefits for their first two weeks back in Sweden since they neglected to register as unemployed.
Half a year has passed since a bomb exploded under the soldiers’ jeep in Afghanistan, seriously wounding the servicemen and killing their local interpreter.
David Ström, from Luleå in northern Sweden, remains in a wheelchair after suffering lower leg fractures, three smashed vertebrae, a brain haemmorhage, and fractures to his collarbone and ribs.
“We just want to be treated fairly,” he told local newspaper Norrländska Socialdemokraten (NSD).
Peter Kero, from Tärendö in the far north, is also in a wheelchair after suffering two leg fractures, a broken foot, thigh bone fractures, spinal compression injuries, and fractured ribs. Like Ström, he too has been refused social insurance payments for the first two weeks back in Sweden.”
“It’s because we didn’t register as unemployed as soon as we came home,” he told NSD.
Kero felt it was “insane” for the agency to expect that the soldiers, who were seriously injured in the blast, would present themselves at the nearest job centre immediately on arrival in Sweden.
"I have a feeling the Social Insurance Agency wants me to start working the second I leave the wheelchair," said Ström.
Sweden has 500 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan as part of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).