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Wounded Swedish soldiers in benefits battle

TT/Paul O'Mahony · 22 May 2010, 12:46

Published: 22 May 2010 12:46 GMT+02:00

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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.

Story continues below…

"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).

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TT/Paul O'Mahony (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:04 May 22, 2010 by Ant3109
They are just arseholes and should treat the squaddies with decency and respect.
10:18 May 22, 2010 by byke
Is this the great swedish social welfare system that sweden feels it overshadows compared to the rest of the world?
10:20 May 22, 2010 by laura ka baal
we should be greatful to the media,for exposing the insurance company.
10:21 May 22, 2010 by Rick Methven
First the woman who was refused benefit because she was burying her son and now this.

You would think it was their personal money.

Get the one who made this decision and send him/her to Afghanistan without body armour or a weapon
11:03 May 22, 2010 by DamnImmigrant
YES, we need bureaucracy. But bureaucracy needs to be able to handle exceptions. IF by LAW there can be no exceptions then the legislative branch needs to amend the law.

There must already be overrides in place and the appropriate supervisor needs to sign off on it.

As far as the military goes. How about they just AUTOMATICALLY list ALL soldiers as being unemployed from their first day out.
11:16 May 22, 2010 by Ladybadone
Pfft I am sure that they can give them some of that wedding money to help them out.
11:19 May 22, 2010 by RoyceD
If a solider is healing from wounds he/she sustained while on duty then I hardly see how they are currently unemployed. If we are paying these men and woman to put their lives and their bodies in harms way for our benefit, then if they are recovering from such actions, in my opinion, they are still working.

Full pay plus bonus in my opinion. And it's not like you can't back date something like this.
11:53 May 22, 2010 by steve_38
Similar in the UK but the UK guys do get paid.

Its the whole thing about soliders getting seriously injured and then getting f**ked off by idiot bueracrats (Sweden or the UK). I guess from the politicians point of view they will get more votes by promising the w*****s more unemployment benefit.

Go to the following web site it shows the job the Air Hospital does in flying back seriously injured soliders from Afghanistan to the UK.

These scum bags who refused these guys benefit should be made to go here, but needless to say they would go off with stress immeadiatly.


It puts things in perspective and makes you think about what these brave young men are doing against an unseen cowardly scum enemy.
11:55 May 22, 2010 by G Kin

Wounded soldiers returning from the war front, fighting for thier lives should worry about registering as unempolyed?.

I guess försärkringkassan would have preferred the soldiers, still dripping with blood from thier wounds stop at thier offices for registration.

12:54 May 22, 2010 by jamtlandtom
Over time there seems to have been a curious parallel on what happens here soon happens in the UK and vice versa. I never thought that the Swedish Bureaucrats would lose their common sense like in, yes the UK but it appears to have happened. OK there must be rules but there must also be some humane thought.
13:38 May 22, 2010 by Swedesmith
Nice way to honor their service.
13:45 May 22, 2010 by Frobobbles
So how does this work, a wounded soldier healing and bound to a wheelchair, how is he unemployed? Is he supposed to shoot talibans sitting?
14:00 May 22, 2010 by Nemesis
The staff of Försäkringskassan who made this decision should be stripped of there citizenship for this decision.

Then the staff who made this decision in Försäkringskassan should be deported immediately to Afghanistan, with a complete ban on them being allowed to return, assuming they survive.
14:19 May 22, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
C'mon guys. Did you honestly think the Swedish Government has systems in place to deal with soldiers returning from conflict? Immean, they haven't been in armed offensive battle for over 200 years, and in the meantime, social welfare has been optimized to getting money quickest to immigrants or service union employees who suffer from cronic papercuts in need of respite.
14:22 May 22, 2010 by Michael84
These soldiers have my deep respect.
14:26 May 22, 2010 by Vietvet
A military member injured in the line of duty should be supported 100% by the military until one of the following occurs:

A. They recover from their injuries and are able to return to active service.

B. They recover from their injuries but not sufficiently to return to active service. In this case, the military bears the responsibility to provide compensation (for life if needed) based upon the degree of disability and it's effect on the members ability to work outside of the military.

For a military member, even a volunteer, to have to rely upon unemployment while recovering from wounds received while honorably serving their country is scandalous. It is exactly what the US did to Vietnam veterans, a war which Sweden protested and also protested the treatment of that war's veterans.

I guess any government is willing to forget service members when it means it will cost them money.
15:57 May 22, 2010 by bolababu
All the comments here actually miss the message in this article. People should begin to think for themselves and stop abusing regulations that are supposed to be a guideline.

I went to the hospital 2 days ago and the stupid receptionist said i could not get treatment because the computer mistakenly listed me somewhere else and i would have to come back when it updates. For God's sake, do people in this freaking country still have their own minds? ..not to talk of common sense?
16:03 May 22, 2010 by samulswan
Thank you for that.

student accommodation
18:38 May 22, 2010 by Carbarrister
For a military member, even a volunteer, to have to rely upon unemployment while recovering from wounds received while honorably serving their country is scandalous. It is exactly what the US did to Vietnam veterans, a war which Sweden protested and also protested the treatment of that war's veterans.

Excellent point. I recall those times well, the treatment of veterans lke myself and actually participated in such rally while visitng my cousin in Stockholm 1973 after I was discharged.

Semper Fi

USMC 1970-72
19:31 May 22, 2010 by Authentica
This is scandalous.
09:12 May 23, 2010 by Da Goat
The new procedure from now on will be to rock up at Försäkringskassan any way you can, ooze body fluids on the floor, brandish your service weapon, if there is one of those stupid take a number systems for queuing then let fly at it, blow the sucker away,

then fire a second shot into the ceiling and using your finest cuss words demand the benefits you require, if the Försäkringskassan employees are too slow in running out with your paperwork or helping let fly another round into their computer monitor


stay on workers compensation scheme until you are fit to go to Försäkringskassan under your own steam (surely Sweden has a workers compensation scheme!!!! or are they a third world country in this regard?

the injured soldiers should be on Försäkringskassan benefits automatically with the soldiers superior officer applying within half an hour of the injury, while the soldier is in surgery for the injury the superior officer should be applying for sickness/unemployment benefits. the soldier is not unemployed until such time as they receive a discharge from the military and they can not be discharged until they are well enough to be. (unless they are dead of course in which case they probably don't need any money to live on)
09:37 May 23, 2010 by Bones
Ahhh, Sveden... Ze rules are ze rules are zee rules... (or what that the German system half a century ago?)
10:17 May 23, 2010 by hjoian
im hoping TL will do a follow up on this with news that all benefits have been backdated.

Its true though that normally you have to submit discharge papers to the benefit office first,and until you get discharge papers,the military is still responsible for your welfare and costs.

There is always a time and place for the "rules" to be slightly twisted.
10:18 May 23, 2010 by George C
I agree with most opinions here but particularly with "Vietvet" ...

The Swedish army (Government) have responsibility to look after its wounded soldiers 100% ... financially and medically until they are capable of supporting themselves.

Wake up ... do the right thing by these brave soldiers who risk life and limb for their country.
11:24 May 23, 2010 by Frobobbles
Maybe we could have a special wheelchair sniper platoon?
11:53 May 23, 2010 by europeman31
Poor solidier, Live for Nothing with out purpose of life..
12:00 May 23, 2010 by Earandur Lissesul
Being an ex-UK serviceman myself I've seen it all before. Government department jobsworths with nothing between their ears. As usual it's ''Old men in Government sending Young men out to die''. In future we should round up all the politicians of the warring factions find a suitable field somewhere and let them fight it out. I'm sure then they would think twice about the decisions they make in our name.

Maximum respect to the the four gallant Swedish servicemen mentioned above, they put it on the line.
12:54 May 23, 2010 by fabandy
Well the SIA employees should be sent out to Afganistan for 6 months, then we will see if they are still as heartless when they return. The soldiers go to war to protect the very people stopping their claim and it is disgusting.
17:17 May 23, 2010 by Puffin
It is unfortunately the problem was caused by the very way that the government wrote the law - there have been many sick and injured people in the same situation - including the woman whose child died and was denied for not registering the day after the death - but the government wrote the new rules very clearly.

In fact there was a court case last week about a man who was admitted to intensive care to have his collapsed lung treated and missed his appointment with arbetsförmedling the next day and was denied money as well - the court explained their sympathy but unfortunately said they could not ignore the very EXACT wording by the current government.

So the government has known about this problem for almost 6 months but chosen not to do anything,

I am very surprised though that the government sacks it's soldiers as soon as they are injured and requires them to register for unemployment as soon as they return
21:54 May 23, 2010 by hilt_m
might be time for sweden to switch over to a professional military system, this is just shameful.
02:48 July 10, 2010 by Michael Whitfield
The Swedish soldiers serving in Afganistan deserve and should receive the best medical care available for injuries sustained in the war.
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