Faktisk.no: NAV asks applicant to manage without electricity due to nice weather. Now, it’s apologizing

NAVPhoto: Morten Holm / Scanpix
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In a decision letter, the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) asked a social assistance applicant to manage without electricity for over a week because the weather was fine at the time. Now, the NAV is apologizing.

A written NAV decision on social assistance has been shared and discussed a lot on social media this weekend.

The decision is a response to an application for financial emergency aid. The decision is signed by NAV Indre Østfold and dated June 9.

The person in question has also applied for support when it comes to paying electricity bills. According to the decision, the person has had the electricity supply cut off and must pay a little over NOK 9,000 to get the power back.

Emergecy aid granted

In the decision, NAV Indre Østfold granted the person emergency aid of NOK 600 for the period between June 9 and June 16. According to the decision, the person would be paid a little over NOK 24,000 in disability benefits on June 17. 

But the application for support for electricity has been rejected because the NAV considers that the person can pay for the electricity when the disability benefits are paid out a week later. 

In the decision, the NAV wrote that the person should manage without electricity since the weather is nice. In addition, the person should be able to grill food and is therefore not dependent on electricity, according to the NAV. 

“It is now summer, and there will be warm and nice weather over a long period. You are thus not dependent on heat in your home to survive. Furthermore, it is possible to grill food outside now. Maybe you can borrow a barbecue if you do not have one yourself, so you can make yourself meals without being dependent on electricity in the home. As of June 9, 2021, there are also several grills on finn.no that people are giving away in the local area. Furthermore, you can drink tap water at home, so you do not need a refrigerator to get a drink during these summer months.”

Elaboration of decision

The decision also emphasized that the person is single and does not have children. The NAV also suggested that the person could borrow money from friends to get the electricity bill paid faster.

The NAV further wrote that they believe the person should be able to afford to pay their bills.

“You have disability benefits as income, and financial calculations show that you have a large profit every month… You are advised to pay your current expenses for electricity monthly with this profit, in order to avoid ending up in a situation where your electricity is shut off again. If this is difficult for you, you may want to enter into a dialogue with your debt counselor.”

The NAV’s decision upset many people on social media.

Genuine document

Since it was published online, many people questioned whether the letter was genuine or whether it has been manipulated or fabricated.

But, according to faktisk.no, the decision is genuine, as confirmed by Mimi K. Slevigen, the head of communications in Indre Østfold Municipality. 

She responded on behalf of Rikke Haagensen, the head of NAV Indre Østfold.

Apologies from NAV

“On Sunday night, we were made aware that a decision document from the NAV has been shared on social media. We regret that it has been sent to a resident of our Municipality. We treat all residents with respect, and it a decision with such wording shouldn’t be sent from a NAV office,” Haagensen wrote via Slevigen in an e-mail to faktisk.no.

“We will now review our routines for sending decisions and carry out an internal control to ensure that our citizens are well taken care of in what is communicated.”

“There will be a review of the decision again, so that we ensure that the person is taken care of in a correct way,” Slevigen added.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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