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Unequal treatment in the allocation of benefits for cars for the disabled - Document no. 3:6 (2006-2007)

Place of residence plays an important role in the allocation of benefits for cars for disabled persons. Cases of a similar nature are often handled differently, and the benefit can be granted in some places while in others the application is rejected. Furthermore there are substantial weaknesses in the management and follow-up of the car benefit scheme by the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion and the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service.
Published 4/3/2007 12:58 PM

This is revealed in The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service’s administration of the car benefit scheme, Document 3:6, which was submitted to the Norwegian parliament (the Storting) on March 20th 2007.

The objectives of the investigation have been to find out whether the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Services administer the car benefit scheme efficiently and effectively, and to identify aspects that can explain any lack of efficiency and effectiveness. In 2006 car benefits amounted to a total of NOK 708 million.

The investigation shows that there are substantial variations in the outcome of applications depending on where in the country the applicant lives. This applies to both whether or not the applicant is granted a benefit for a car and to the amount of any such benefit. The discrepancies have considerable consequences for the users. Furthermore there is a long waiting period for cars for the most seriously handicapped users. Car benefits play a major role in enabling disabled people to participate in community life, and wrong decisions lead to severe economic and social consequences for the individual concerned.

The investigation also shows that the area is characterised by weak management and follow-up from both the Ministry and the Service. Few specific requirements have been set for results, and there is no documented list of the number of cases or the percentages of the applications that are granted or rejected. Neither the Ministry nor the Service appears to have an adequate overview of the area, and measures must be implemented to remedy this.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion says that the investigation provides a thorough assessment of the Service’s administration of the car benefit scheme, and that it points to major areas of improvement. Furthermore the Ministry intends to draw up an action plan based on the report of the Office of the Auditor General (the OAG). The action plan will contain the measures required to rectify the matters pointed out by the OAG.

The document can be downloaded from the OAG’s website – www.riksrevisjonen.no – or ordered from Akademika booksellers, tel. +47 22 18 81 23.

The provision concerning delayed public access to documents that are compiled by or sent to the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document no. 3:6 (2006-2007), cf. Section 18, paragraph 2 of the Auditor General Act, has been repealed.

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 8130 Dep, 0032 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

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