Russia’s new disability rules prompt outrage as 500,000 lose benefits
Daniil is five years old but he’s spent more time in a hospital than most adults. Last year he was treated four times at the intensive care unit of his local hospital in Magnitogorsk, an industrial city in Russia’s Urals region.
Despite relying on a daily cocktail of medicines to survive due to a life-threatening genetic disease, Daniil was struck off Russia’s disability register in October, leaving his family to pay for his treatment themselves.
“It was a shock for us,” says his mother, Marina Nizhegorodova. “Now, we have to pay for the tests and the drugs from our own pocket. They took everything away from us.”
Daniil is one of hundreds of thousands of patients who were denied disability benefits last year under new measures that health advocates say are hurting many of Russia’s most vulnerable citizens.