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Agency to cancer victim: 'go to social services'

Agency to cancer victim: 'go to social services'

Published: 06 Feb 2012 11:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Feb 2012 11:13 GMT+01:00

A young Swedish mother, recently diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, was told by National Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan), that she was not eligible for sickness benefits.

“I just don't get how they are thinking, it isn't as if I have a cold for a week. I can't look after my daughter as I can't even lift anything after the surgery,“ said Lisa Markstedt, 19, to daily Aftonbladet.

Markstedt graduated from high school at Christmas after being on parental leave with her infant daughter Selma since March. However, in the beginning of January, Lisa Markstedt was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery on the 23rd of the same month.

Following the operation awaited after-care and sick leave, but because Lisa didn't have time to work between school and parental leave, she was not eligible for any sickness benefits and was told she would receive no income at all.

“When I called them they simply said that you have to be registered as unemployed for six months to be eligible for benefits. Their advice was that I go to the social services,” she said to the paper.

Her husband, Kim, was therefore forced to go to work, although he is sorely needed at home looking after the couple's daughter.

“If it hadn't been for our lovely relatives who are always there for us we would never manage, we would have had to sell all our possessions” said Lisa to the paper.

At the moment, Lisa has transferred some of her parental leave days to her mother, who has taken time off work to mind Selma while Lisa recuperates from her cancer surgery and the after-treatment.

According to the Försäkringskassan rules, it is not possible to get sickness benefits if you haven't had a sickness benefit qualifying income (Sjukpenninggrundande inkomst- SGI).

“In the short term there are no benefits available as a person would have to have a sickness benefit qualifying income. And student grants or parental benefits don't count,” said Cecilia Udin of the agency to Aftonbladet.

Not until after a year of reduced work ability, Lisa might be eligible for activity compensation (aktivitetsersättning) which does not require an SGI.

“I am so young and haven't had time to work, I have just graduated from school. And now I am on sick leave until March, but I don't know how long the treatment will go on for,” said Lisa to the paper.

But according to the agency, the responsibility falls onto the local authorities. For Lisa, there is no other place to turn than social services for financial help.

However, she is determined to keep fighting and hopes that the sharing of her story might bring about a change in the system.

“Really I feel so sick that I don't have the strength to argue but you have to dare put your foot down so that there might be a change,” she told Aftonbladet.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:13 February 6, 2012 by an22ff
Hi,

I don't see what made this a news. My sympathies are with the young mother. But the authority has a certain criteria to get the benifit and if you do not fullfil the criteria you don't get the benifits. What makes it difficult I don't know.

She is still eligilbe to get (aktivitetsersättning) then why crying?
13:03 February 6, 2012 by Frobobbles
Right to sick leave when you never had a job in your whole life? Go figure
15:05 February 6, 2012 by JulieLou40
Don't you think you're being a little harsh?? 19 with BREAST CANCER??!!! For Gods sake, comments # 1 and 2, have a little compassion!

It's not her fault the cancer struck before she had a chance to start her career, is it?
16:06 February 6, 2012 by bethrichardson
As an American I'm just amazed that she was able to take time off to have her child and receive money/ financial support during that time. Here, she would have been in these circumstances nearly a year ago. Just one more reason I need to get out of this country! Not that I need the support, luckily, but I want to live where I know that people who need help will get it, where I feel like my tax dollars are doing more than paying a politician way more money than he deserves. And yes, "he" - we're still backward enough that it's very hard for women to get into certain fields, which means we have very few female politicians. As for the mom, I hope she finds the help she needs.
17:59 February 6, 2012 by strixy
I don't see what is so bad? Unless in Sweden going to social services for help means losing your child? Well, in other parts of Europe social services would most likely sort out some kind of financial aid until the mother recovers.
18:18 February 6, 2012 by zooeden
Standard procedure from Försäkringskassan!!!
19:01 February 6, 2012 by Puffin
A very tragic case that a young mother lhas a baby at the time she leaves school and suffers cancer shortly afterwards

Unfortunately sick leave is to compensate absence from work however as she never worked she won't have paid into the system to be eligible for sck leave payments

She's have been getting parental leave at 180kr/day which she could have continued to get - however she's obviously signed over her rights to this to her mother to care for the baby

She may be entitled to disability benefits depending on the length of her illness or she may get income/support and housing benefits - but these will be assessed taking into account her sambos income
21:51 February 6, 2012 by muscle
It shows that the training and advertisements for condoms isn't enough yet. I hope she gets the treatment and benefits. I feel sorry for her as she is diagnosed with cancer at such a young age.

But just an advice to other young girls If you are planning to have a baby, try to think how to survive first. I HOPE, and I REALLLY HOPE, at that young age when she decided to have a kid, her husband has some sound job!
00:11 February 7, 2012 by Swedish Meatbulls
Another case of caring loving Sweden! From Cradle to Grave.... Bullshit!

who gives a f***k if she as never ever worked..That is why we all pay the world highest F*** TAX . Or is that to just keep a the useless politicians of this country, healthy and wealthy??
00:53 February 7, 2012 by Puffin
I have never heard of houswives or stay at home mums being entitled to paid sick leave!!
05:22 February 7, 2012 by TheWatchman
This is really unfortunate, that she got it so young. My best wishes to her, and hopefully she can get money soon.
11:15 May 23, 2012 by sureiam
Rules are rules.................lol poor lady. Wish her a speed recovery
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