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On awarding and paying sickness benefits

Case No. 21/2009-32/2009

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ITEM 61 (WORDINGS OF 27 SEPTEMBER 2006, 8 APRIL 2009 AND 26 AUGUST 2009) OF THE REGULATIONS ON SOCIAL INSURANCE BENEFITS OF SICKNESS AND MATERNITY, AS APPROVED BY THE RESOLUTION (NO. 86) OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA OF 25 JANUARY 2001, WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, AS WELL AS ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ITEM 68 (WORDINGS OF 27 SEPTEMBER 2006, 16 JANUARY 2008, 27 AUGUST 2008 AND 21 AUGUST 2012) OF THE SAID REGULATIONS WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AND ARTICLE 15 (WORDINGS OF 21 DECEMBER 2000 AND 4 DECEMBER 2007) OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON SICKNESS AND MATERNITY SOCIAL INSURANCE

 31 October 2012

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Bieliūnas, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas,

with the secretary—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 and 531 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 18 October 2012, in the Court’s sitting, considered, under written procedure, constitutional justice case No. 21/2009-32/2009 subsequent to:

1) the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, a petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it prescribes that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were (are) submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, was (is) not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance (petition No. 1B-42/2009);

2) the petition of the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, a petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, was not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (petition No. 1B-22/2009).

By the Constitutional Court’s decision of 2 October 2012 the petitions of the petitioners were joined into one case and it was given reference No. 21/2009-32/2009.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

  1. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, a petitioner, was, under appellate procedure, considering an administrative case wherein a dispute had arisen as a result of the refusal to award a sickness benefit, as the time limit for the application to award that benefit had been missed.

The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, while noting that it had been established in the case that the certificates of incapacity to work, which constitute a ground to award the sickness benefit, for the corresponding periods of temporary incapacity to work in 2006 had been issued only in 2008, suspended the administrative case and applied to the Constitutional Court.

  1. The petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, a petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

2.1. Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity (hereinafter also referred to as the Regulations), as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 86) “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, sets a time limit upon the expiry of which the person loses his right to receive the sickness benefit, as well as a maximum period for which the sickness benefit may be awarded and which is counted from the day of the application to award the sickness benefit. The regulations do not consolidate any exceptions to the application of the aforesaid item, nor do they provide for a possibility of renewing or extending the time limits set therein; therefore, the said time limits are to be assessed as eliminating ones. Thus, according to the petitioner, Item 68 of the Regulations consolidates the limitations on the right to the sickness benefit in terms of time.

In the opinion of the petitioner, in this way the sub-statutory legal act consolidates such provisions, which provide for the main conditions for awarding and paying one of the forms of social assistance—the sickness benefit, that, according to their legal significance, nature and produced legal effects, equal the essential preconditions and grounds for the acquisition of the right to the sickness benefit, i.e. if the time limit of 6 or 12 months, consolidated in Item 68 of the Regulations, is missed, the person loses his right to the sickness benefit for the corresponding period.

Due to the said reasons, the petitioner doubts as to whether the impugned Item 68 of the Regulations did not consolidate such legal regulation that, while following the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 52 of the Constitution, may be established only by law.

In the opinion of the petitioner, Item 68 of the Regulations consolidates the new norms of a general character, which compete with the norms of the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance (hereinafter also referred to as the Law). Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law establishes the conditions under which the sickness benefit is not paid. The said article of the Law does not provide for any time limit upon the expiry of which sickness benefits may be not awarded and not paid, nor does it provide that the Government is authorised to establish other, additional, conditions for the non-payment of sickness benefits.

2.2. The petitioner, while referring to the official constitutional doctrine formulated in the course of construction of Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, notes that the social assistance provided by the state, among other things, the sickness benefit, must be real and effective, and that legal acts may not provide for any such conditions for and limitations on the provision of that assistance that would, due to certain formal reasons, entirely deny the right of the person to receive the said assistance and would be obviously unfair.

According to the petitioner, the legal acts provided and provide for the possibility, which is not limited by any time limit, of changing, under the appropriate conditions, the formerly issued medical certificate for the certificate of incapacity to work, which constitutes a ground to pay the sickness benefit. Thus, according to the petitioner, a situation may occur where the sickness benefit would not be paid to the person who cannot, due to objective and important reasons (for instance, due to the on-going judicial proceedings or prolonged expert investigation, etc.), in reality obtain a certificate of incapacity to work within the time limits set in Item 68 of the Regulations and who obtains it (under the applicable legal acts) after the expiry of the time limits set in the said legal norm. This, in the opinion of the petitioner, is incompatible with the principle of justice, which is a constituent part of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as with Article 52 of the Constitution, which guarantees a fair, real and effective system of social security.

  1. The Kaunas Regional Administrative Court was considering an administrative case wherein the petitioner requested that the Kaunas Department of the State Social Insurance Fund Board be obliged to pay him the calculated sickness benefit together with the paid old-age pension.

The Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, noting that the dispute in the administrative case had arisen not in relation to the right to receive the sickness benefit, whereas in relation to the manner of payment of that benefit to its recipient, which is established in Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, suspended the consideration of the administrative case and applied to the Constitutional Court.

  1. The petition of the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, a petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

4.1. Under the legal regulation established in Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, the person who is being awarded the sickness benefit for temporary incapacity to work (the person meets the conditions for receiving the sickness benefit), according to the petitioner, must fulfil additional conditions for receiving the benefit in reality, i.e. the person must hold a personal account and that account must exclusively be in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania. In this way, according to the petitioner, social assistance is guaranteed to the recipient of the sickness benefit in the event of temporary incapacity to work, however, the duty is established to hold a personal account in a bank located on the territory of Lithuania, and no other alternative ways of receiving the benefit are consolidated in the Regulations.

4.2. The recipient of the sickness benefit seeking to receive the sickness benefit that is lawfully awarded to him, according to the petitioner, has to face obstacles and assume additional obligations, i.e. to incur additional costs related to the holding of a personal account exclusively in a credit establishment located on the territory of Lithuania, irrespective of other real possibilities of receiving the benefit.

4.3. While referring to the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine, the petitioner notes that Article 52 of the Constitution obliges the legislator to establish such legal regulation of social assistance that would ensure such manner of payment of the sickness benefit that would meet the legitimate expectations of the receiver of social assistance as well as his possibilities of actually receiving that assistance, would not create for the receiver of social assistance any additional obligations and would not distort the duty of the state to provide its citizens with an adequate social assistance in the manner appropriate both for the provider and receiver of that assistance.

4.4. The petitioner, while referring to the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine, also notes that Article 52 of the Constitution is to be construed by taking account of inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which implies that human rights must be ensured and that the protection of legitimate expectations, the legal certainty and the legal security are inseparable elements of the principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from the representatives of the Government, the party concerned, who were Alfreda Šatrauskienė, Deputy Director of the Department of Social Insurance and Pensions (the former head of the Social Insurance Division of that department) of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania, and Marija Paskočinienė, Head of the Division of Benefits and Control over Incapacity to Work of the State Social Insurance Fund Board under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour.

  1. In the written explanations (in the part of the case subsequent to the petitioner’s petition No. 1B-42/2009) it is maintained that Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, insofar as it is impugned, was (is) not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law. The position of the representatives of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

Sub-statutory legal acts (thus, resolutions of the Government as well) may establish the procedure for the implementation of the laws regulating the relations of social security and social assistance. Paragraph 6 of Article 14 of the Law prescribes that the sickness benefit is calculated and paid according to the procedure laid down in the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity approved by the Government. Thus, the Regulations set the procedure for the implementation of the law regulating the relations of sickness and maternity social insurance.

The provision of Item 68 of the Regulations, which consolidates the time limit for the application to award the benefit, does not deprive the person of his right to the sickness benefit, which is guaranteed in Article 52 of the Constitution and consolidated in the Law.

The representatives of the party concerned note that, under Article 2 of the Law, the purpose of sickness and maternity social insurance in the event of sickness is to compensate the insured persons for the income lost as a result of their sickness. Sickness benefits are short-term payments, and, in certain cases, they are, practically, payments of one-time nature, therefore, the established application of the shortened time limit of 6 months from the end of the sickness period provides a possibility for the insured persons to implement their right to the benefit. The more so that, according to the representatives of the Government, the party concerned, the insured persons apply to the territorial offices of the State Social Insurance Fund Board for the awarding of the sickness benefit very promptly, seeking to receive the compensation for the income lost as a result of their sickness (i.e. to be awarded and paid sickness benefits) as soon as possible.

The representatives of the party concerned also point out that, while following the principles of legal security, reasonableness and legitimate expectations, the provisions of Item 68 of the Regulations as regards the time limit of 6 months set from the end of the sickness period for the application to award the sickness benefit should, in the cases where the certificate of incapacity to work is issued at a later date, be applied by counting the application time limit from the day of the issue of the certificate of incapacity to work.

  1. In the written explanations (in the part of the case subsequent to the petitioner’s petition No. 1B-22/2009) it is maintained that Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations was not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. The position of the representatives of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

Sub-statutory legal acts (thus, resolutions of the Government as well) may establish the procedure for the implementation of the laws regulating the relations of social security and social assistance. Sub-statutory legal regulation of the said relations may comprise the establishment of respective procedures, as well as such legal regulation based on laws where the need to provide more details about and particularise in sub-statutory legal acts the legal regulation established by laws is objectively caused by the necessity in the law-making process to lean upon special knowledge or special (professional) competence in a certain area. However, sub-statutory legal regulation of the relations specified in Article 52 of the Constitution may not establish any conditions for the appearance of the right of an individual to social assistance, nor may it limit the extent of that right.

The Law prescribes that the sickness benefit is calculated and paid according to the procedure laid down in the regulations approved by the Government. Thus, the Regulations regulate the procedure for the implementation of the law regulating the relations of sickness and maternity social insurance.

The Law provides that the sickness benefit is awarded in the event of a certain insured event, i.e. when a person is, under the established procedure, recognised as being temporary incapable of working, and the person’s right to the benefit is associated with certain facts—the person’s state of being covered by sickness and maternity social insurance and having a certain sickness and maternity social insurance record, as well as with the loss of income sustained by the person as a result of temporary incapacity to work. Whereas the sub-statutory legal act—the Regulations—provides for the procedure for the implementation of the said law, specifies the calculation of the sickness benefit in detail and regulates the procedure for and ways of its payment as well as the conditions and time limits for awarding that benefit. In this case the dispute arises not in relation to the loss of the person’s right to the sickness benefit, which is guaranteed in Article 52 of the Constitution, but in relation to the manner of payment of that benefit (the person’s right to the sickness benefit was established according to the Law, a decision was adopted to award that benefit, and the sum of the benefit was calculated, however, the applicant, having not indicated his personal account in a bank, could not implement his right and have the sum of the benefit at his disposal). In the opinion of the representatives of the party concerned, the fact that the Regulations provide for the requirement that the person must hold a personal account in a credit establishment does not permit one to maintain that an unreasonable condition that is impossible to implement is established, that the appearance of the person’s right to the benefit is related to the subjective decisions of institutions or officials or to other accidental circumstances, and that thereby the right to receive the benefit is denied.

The representatives of the party concerned note that sickness benefits are paid to working persons. The manner of payment of the sickness benefit established by the impugned legal regulation—when the sickness benefit is transferred to a personal account in a credit establishment—ensures the right of the insured persons to receive the benefit within the time limit (15 working days) set in the Regulations and is the continuance of payment of work remuneration, which is also paid by transferring it to bank accounts. If it were provided that sickness benefits should be delivered to persons to their homes, working persons would more often than not have no possibility of receiving those benefits. In addition, the manner of benefit payment established by the impugned legal regulation—transfer to a personal account in a credit establishment—is the cheapest and safest one. The representatives of the party concerned also point out that the sickness benefit is the most frequently awarded social insurance payment.

 

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

On the compliance of Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 86) “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it prescribes that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were (are) submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance.

  1. As mentioned before, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, a petitioner, requests investigation into whether Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, insofar as it prescribes that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were (are) submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, was (is) not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law.
  2. On 25 January 2001, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 86) “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity”, whereby it approved the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity.

2.1. The Regulations prescribed: “These Regulations shall regulate the procedure for the awarding and payment of social insurance benefits from the funds allocated for sickness and maternity social insurance” (Item 1 (wording of 25 January 2001)); “From the funds of the Budget of the State Social Insurance Fund Board allocated for sickness and maternity social insurance the following shall be paid: 2.1. sickness benefits; <...>” (Item 2 (wording of 25 January 2001)).

2.2. The Regulations, inter alia Item 1 thereof, have been amended and/or supplemented more than once.

Under Item 1 (wordings of 27 September 2006 and 8 April 2009) of the Regulations, they regulate the procedure for the awarding and payment of social insurance benefits pursuant to the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance.

It needs to be noted that, under the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance, referred to in Item 1 (wordings of 27 September 2006 and 8 April 2009) of the Regulations, inter alia sickness benefits are awarded and paid (Paragraph 1 of Article 5 (with subsequent amendments and/or supplements) of the Law).

2.3. Thus, the Regulations regulated and regulate inter alia the procedure for the awarding and payment of sickness benefits.

2.4. Item 68 (wording of 25 January 2001) of the Regulations prescribed: “Benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were submitted not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period <...> and are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit.”

2.5. Item 68 of the Regulations was more than once amended and/or supplemented, inter alia by the Government Resolution (No. 957) “On Amending the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity’ of 25 January 2001” of 27 September 2006 (which came into force on 1 October 2006), by the Government Resolution (No. 43) “On Amending the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity’ of 25 January 2001” of 16 January 2008 (which came into force on 27 January 2008), and by the Government Resolution (No. 839) “On Amending the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity’ of 25 January 2001” of 27 August 2008 (which came into force on 12 September 2008), however, the legal regulation established therein, in the aspect impugned by the petitioner, remained unchanged (only its linguistic expression changed).

2.6. In this context it needs to be noted that Item 68 (wording of 27 August 2008) of the Regulations was subsequently amended and set forth in a new wording by the Government Resolution (No. 975) “On Amending the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity’ of 25 January 2001” of 21 August 2012 (which came into force on 1 September 2012).

2.7. The impugned Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations inter alia prescribed that benefits from the funds of the employer or the budget of the State Social Insurance Fund Board are awarded if applications for their payment were (are) submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that they are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit.

2.8. Thus, the impugned legal regulation, which is consolidated in Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, set the time limit of 6 months from the end of the sickness period for the application of the recipient of the sickness benefit to award that benefit, as well as the maximum period (time limit) of the 12 preceding months from the day of the application, for which the benefit recipient may be paid the said benefit.

Consequently, the person who has, under the law, the right to the sickness benefit could implement that right only within the time limit set in Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, whereas the payment of the sickness benefit that belongs to the person who has not missed the said time limit was limited by the maximum period (time limit) set in the aforementioned item of the Regulations.

  1. As mentioned before, under Item 1 (wordings of 27 September 2006 and 8 April 2009) of the Regulations, the Regulations regulate the procedure for the awarding and payment of social insurance benefits pursuant to the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance.
  2. On 21 December 2000, the Seimas adopted the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance, which came into force on 1 January 2001.

4.1. The Law provided and provides inter alia for the right to social insurance benefits of sickness as well as the conditions for the awarding, calculation and payment of these benefits (Article 1). The second chapter “The Sickness Benefit” of the Law established and establishes the insured persons entitled to receive the sickness benefit in the cases specified by that law (Article 8), the duration of payment of the sickness benefit (Articles 9, 10, 11 and 12), the payment of the sickness benefit during the annual leave (Article 13), the amount of the sickness benefit (Article 14) and the conditions under which the sickness benefit is not paid (Article 15).

4.2. Article 15 “Conditions under Which the Sickness Benefit Shall Not Be Paid” (wording of 21 December 2000) prescribed the following:

“1. The sickness benefit shall not be paid if the relevant institutions establish that the insured person:

1) became temporarily incapable of working due to trauma received when committing a criminal act;

2) did damage to his health or pretended being sick;

3) became temporarily incapable of working due to abuse of alcohol, narcotics, and toxic or psychotropic materials.

  1. The persons who violated the treatment and medical care regime prescribed by the doctor, or failed on due date and without any valid reason to attend the appointment with the doctor or, as prescribed by the legal acts, the medical check-up for the establishment of their capacity to work, may be refused the sickness benefit or the payment of the benefit to them may be terminated from the day of the commission of the violation in the manner prescribed by the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity approved by the Government.”

4.3. On 4 December 2007, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 181, 183, 19, 20 and 21 of the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance, whereby it inter alia amended Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the Law.

Paragraph 1 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Article 15 of the Law prescribes:

“1. The sickness benefit shall not be paid if the competent institutions establish that:

1) the insured person became temporarily incapable of working due to trauma received when committing a criminal deed;

2) the insured person did damage to his health or pretended being sick;

3) the insured person became temporarily incapable of working due to insobriety (inebriety) or due to abuse of psychoactive substances.”

4.4. Thus, Article 15 (wordings of 21 December 2000 and 4 December 2007) of the Law consolidated and consolidates the conditions upon the establishment of which the sickness benefit is not paid to the person (the person loses his right to that benefit) (Paragraph 1), and it also consolidated and consolidates the conditions under which the sickness benefit may not be paid or the payment thereof may be terminated in the manner prescribed by the Regulations approved by the Government (Paragraph 2).

4.5. Alongside, it needs to be mentioned that neither Article 15 (wordings of 21 December 2000 and 4 December 2007) of the Law, nor other articles of the Law prescribed and prescribe any time limits within which the recipient of the sickness benefit may apply for the awarding of that benefit, nor did and do they set any maximum periods (time limits), counted from the day of application, by means of which one would limit the payment of the sickness benefit that belongs to the recipient of that benefit.

4.6. It also needs to be mentioned that Article 14 of the Law prescribes that “the sickness benefit shall be calculated and paid in accordance with the procedure established by the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity approved by the Government” (Paragraph 3 of Article 14 (wording of 21 December 2000), Paragraph 5 of Article 14 (wording of 3 July 2008) and Paragraph 6 of Article 14 (wording of 28 April 2009)).

4.7. Thus, under the aforementioned provision of Article 14 (“the sickness benefit shall be calculated and paid in accordance with the procedure established by the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity approved by the Government”) (wordings of 21 December 2000, 3 July 2008 and 28 April 2009) of the Law, the Government is authorised to establish in the Regulations inter alia the procedure for the payment of the sickness benefit.

  1. As mentioned before, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, a petitioner, requests to investigate the compliance of Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations (insofar as it is indicated by the petitioner) with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law.
  2. While assessing whether Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations (to the specified extent) was not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law, it needs to be noted that, under the official constitutional doctrine:

– the formulation “the state shall guarantee” of Article 52 of the Constitution inter alia means that various types of social assistance are guaranteed to those persons and on such grounds that have been established by laws (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of inter alia 23 April 2002, 7 February 2005, 26 September 2007 and 29 April 2008, the decision of 20 April 2010, the rulings of 14 December 2010 and 6 February 2012);

– sub-statutory legal acts (thus, resolutions of the Government as well) may establish only the procedure for the implementation of the laws regulating the relations of social security and social assistance; sub-statutory legal regulation of the relations of social security and social assistance may comprise the establishment of respective procedures, as well as such legal regulation based on laws where the need to provide more details about and particularise in sub-statutory legal acts the legal regulation established by laws is objectively caused by the necessity in the law-making process to lean upon special knowledge or special (professional) competence in a certain area; however, sub-statutory legal regulation of the relations referred to in Article 52 of the Constitution may not establish any conditions for the appearance of the right of the person to social assistance, nor limit the extent of that right (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of inter alia 7 February 2005, 2 September 2009 and 14 December 2010).

Consequently, under the Constitution, inter alia Article 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the legislator, while regulating the relations related to the awarding and payment of social assistance in the event of sickness (inter alia the sickness benefit), may commission the Government to establish inter alia the procedure for the payment of the sickness benefit, however, that commissioning of the Government by the legislator may not be a ground for the establishment of the conditions for the appearance of the right of the person to social assistance, nor may it limit the extent of that right.

In this context it needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, the legislator, while regulating the relations related to the implementation of the right to receive social assistance, must establish the reasonable time limits for the application to award (pay) the corresponding benefit and provide for the mechanism of their renewal. While doing this, the legislator is bound by the Constitution, inter alia Article 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. As mentioned before, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, a petitioner, requests to investigate the compliance of Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, insofar as it prescribes that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were (are) submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law.
  2. When deciding whether Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations (to the specified extent) was not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law, it needs to be noted that the time limit within which the person may implement his right to the sickness benefit (apply for awarding that benefit) and the period (time limit) by which one limits the payment of the sickness benefit to its recipient are certain conditions out of those for the awarding and payment of social assistance in the event of sickness, therefore, they may be established only by law.
  3. It needs to be noted that, as mentioned before, the impugned legal regulation, which is consolidated in Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, set the time limit of 6 months from the end of the sickness period for the recipient of the sickness benefit to apply for awarding that benefit, as well as the maximum period (time limit) of the 12 preceding months from the day of the application, for which the benefit recipient may be paid the said benefit.

Consequently, as mentioned before, the person entitled under the law to the sickness benefit could implement the right in question only within the time limit set in Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, whereas the payment of the sickness benefit that belongs to the person who has not missed the said time limit was limited by the maximum period (time limit) set in the aforementioned item of the Regulations.

It has also been mentioned that neither Article 15 (wordings of 21 December 2000 and 4 December 2007), nor other articles of the Law prescribed and prescribe any time limits within which the recipient of the sickness benefit may apply for the awarding of that benefit, nor did and do they set any maximum periods (time limits), counted from the day of application, by means of which one would limit the payment of the sickness benefit that belongs to the recipient of that benefit.

  1. Consequently, Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations established the conditions for the appearance of the right of the person to social assistance and limited the extent of that right.
  2. It has been mentioned that, under the Constitution, inter alia Article 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the legislator, while regulating the relations related to the awarding and payment of social assistance in the event of sickness (inter alia the sickness benefit), may commission the Government to establish inter alia the procedure for the payment of the sickness benefit, however, that commissioning of the Government by the legislator may not be a ground for the establishment of any conditions for the appearance of the right of the person to social assistance, nor may it limit the extent of that right.
  3. It needs to be held that, by establishing in Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were (are) submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, one extended, in an impermissible manner, the grounds (conditions) for the non-payment of the sickness benefit, which are established in Article 15 (wordings of 21 December 2000 and 4 December 2007) of the Law, and violated the requirement, arising from Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, that sub-statutory legal regulation may not establish any conditions for the appearance of the right of the person to social assistance.
  4. Taking account of the arguments set forth, a conclusion is to be drawn that Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, insofar as it prescribed that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were (are) submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law.
  5. It has been mentioned that Item 68 (wording of 27 August 2008) was subsequently amended and set forth in a new wording by the Government Resolution (No. 975) “On Amending Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity’ of 25 January 2001” of 21 August 2012 (which came into force on 1 September 2012).

Item 68 (wording of 21 January 2012) of the Regulations prescribes: “Benefits from the funds of the employer or the budget of the State Social Insurance Fund Board shall be awarded if applications for their payment are submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period <...>, and shall be paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit. In the cases where the electronic certificate of incapacity to work is issued after the end of the sickness period, the sickness benefit from the funds of the employer or the budget of the State Social Insurance Fund Board shall be awarded if an application for its payment is submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the day of the issuing the electronic certificate of incapacity to work. <...>”

  1. After comparing the legal regulation established in Item 68 (wording of 21 August 2012) of the Regulations with that established in the impugned (to the specified extent) Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, it is clear that, in the aspect impugned by the petitioner, it has not changed, i.e. it sets the time limit of 6 months from the end of the sickness period for an application to award the sickness benefit, as well as the maximum period (time limit) of the 12 preceding months from the day of application, for which the sickness benefit may be paid to its recipient. At the same time, the legal regulation in question has been supplemented by the aspect that it sets the time limit of 6 months from the day of issuing the electronic certificate of incapacity to work for an application to award the sickness benefit in those cases where the electronic certificate of incapacity to work is issued after the end of the sickness period.
  2. In this Constitutional Court’s ruling it has been held that Item 68 (wordings of 27 September 2006, 16 January 2008 and 27 August 2008) of the Regulations, insofar as it prescribed that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were (are) submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law.
  3. Having held this, on the grounds of the same arguments, one is also to hold that Item 68 (wording of 21 August) of the Regulations, insofar as it prescribes that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment are submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months from the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, also insofar as it prescribes that, in the cases where the electronic certificate of incapacity to work is issued after the end of the sickness period, the sickness benefit is awarded if an application for its payment is submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the day of issuing the electronic certificate of incapacity to work, extends, in an impermissible manner, the grounds (conditions) for the non-payment of the sickness benefit, which are established in Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law, and thereby violates the requirement, which arises from Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, that sub-statutory legal regulation may not establish any conditions for the appearance of the right of the person to social assistance.
  4. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Item 68 (wording of 21 August) of the Regulations, insofar as it prescribes that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment are submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, also insofar as it prescribes that, in the cases where the electronic certificate of incapacity to work is issued after the end of the sickness period, the sickness benefit is awarded if an application for its payment is submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the day of issuing the electronic certificate of incapacity to work, is in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law.

II

On the compliance of Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 86) “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. As mentioned before, the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, a petitioner, requests investigation into whether Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 86) “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, was not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. As mentioned before, on 25 January 2001, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 86) “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity”, whereby it approved the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity.
  3. Item 61 (wording of 25 January 2001) of the Regulations prescribed: “Sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a bank located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.”
  4. Item 61 of the Regulations was subsequently amended and/or supplemented, inter alia by the Government Resolution (No. 957) “On Amending the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity’ of 25 January 2001”, which was adopted on 27 September 2006.
  5. Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, which is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, prescribed: “Sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.”
  6. Thus, the impugned legal regulation, which is established in Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, consolidated the sole manner of payment of the sickness benefit to the person to whom it is awarded (calculated) on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the Law: transfer to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.

Consequently, the person could receive (could be paid) the sickness benefit awarded to him on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the Law if that person (recipient of the sickness benefit) held a personal account in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania and indicated it to an appropriate state institution, which would then transfer the awarded sickness benefit to the indicated account.

  1. It needs to be noted that neither Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, nor other items (wording of 25 January 2001 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements) of the Regulations, which were valid at the time when the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, a petitioner, was considering the aforementioned administrative case, provided for any other way (other ways) of payment (receipt) of the sickness benefit to (by) the person to whom it is awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the Law.
  2. As mentioned before, under Item 1 (wordings of 27 September 2006 and 8 April 2009) of the Regulations, the Regulations regulate the procedure for the awarding and payment of social insurance benefits pursuant to the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance.
  3. It has been mentioned that, on 21 December 2000, the Seimas adopted the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance, which came into force on 1 January 2001.

9.1. That law, as mentioned before, provided and provides inter alia for the right to sickness social insurance benefits as well as the conditions for the awarding, calculation and payment of these benefits (Article 1).

9.2. As mentioned before, the Second Chapter “The Sickness Benefit” of the Law established and establishes the insured persons entitled to receive the sickness benefit in the cases specified by that law (Article 8), the duration of payment of the sickness benefit (Articles 9, 10, 11 and 12), the payment of the sickness benefit during the annual leave (Article 13), the amount of the sickness benefit (Article 14) and the conditions under which the sickness benefit is not paid (Article 15).

  1. It has also been mentioned that Article 14 of the Law prescribes that “the sickness benefit shall be calculated and paid in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity approved by the Government” (Paragraph 3 of Article 14 (wording of 21 December 2000), Paragraph 5 of Article 14 (wording of 3 July 2008) and Paragraph 6 of Article 14 (wording of 28 April 2009)).
  2. It needs to be noted that the Law did (and does) not provide for any concrete ways of payment (receipt) of the sickness benefit.
  3. Thus, under the aforementioned provision of Article 14 (“the sickness benefit shall be calculated and paid in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity approved by the Government”) of the Law, the Government is authorised to establish inter alia the concrete ways of payment (receipt) of the sickness benefit.
  4. As mentioned before, the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, a petitioner, requests to investigate the compliance of Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  5. While assessing whether Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations was not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that, under the official constitutional doctrine, the principle of proportionality, as one of the elements of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, means that the measures provided for in legal acts must be in line with the legitimate objectives that are important to society, that these measures must be necessary in order to reach the said objectives, and that these measures must not restrain the rights and freedoms of the person clearly more than necessary in order to reach the said objectives (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of inter alia 11 December 2009, 29 June 2010, 17 November 2011 and 6 February 2012).

It also needs to be noted that in its ruling of 2 September 2009 the Constitutional Court held:

– the legislator may not establish any such legal regulation that would create preconditions for a situation where a person who, due to health disorders (caused by illness, accident, occupational disease, innate health disorders, etc.), permanently or temporarily did not acquire or lost a possibility to earn the living from work or business income, or where such possibilities significantly diminished, would not receive the respective social support and/ or disability pension;

– one may also not establish any such legal regulation where the acquisition of the right to receive the disability pension or the maintenance of such right, which is, under the Constitution, guaranteed to the person who, due to health disorders (caused by illness, accident, occupational disease, innate health disorders, etc.), permanently or temporarily did not acquire or lost a possibility to earn the living from work or business income, or where such possibilities significantly diminished, would be associated with the constitutionally unreasoned conditions, subjective decisions of any institutions or officials, or other circumstances that do not induce the persons to take care of their health.

The said doctrinal provisions are mutatis mutandis inter alia applicable to the legal acts of the Government that lay down, on the grounds of the law, the procedure for awarding social assistance (the more so for paying the benefit awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law) in the event of sickness.

Consequently, under the Constitution, inter alia Article 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, one is also not allowed to establish any such legal regulation whereby the payment of the sickness benefit awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law would be associated with the disproportionate payment conditions that create preconditions for aggravating the implementation of the right to receive social assistance in the event of sickness.

  1. As mentioned before, the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court, a petitioner, requests investigation into whether Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations was not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. While deciding whether Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations was not in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that, under the principle of proportionality, as one of the elements of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the way (ways) of payment of the sickness benefit awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law must inter alia be in line with the objectives that are important to society and must be necessary in order to reach the said objectives.

It also needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, when consolidating the right of persons covered by social insurance of sickness to receive the sickness benefit on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law, the legislator may commission the Government to establish inter alia the procedure for the payment of the sickness benefit, however, this commissioning of the Government by the legislator in itself does not mean that the Government is allowed, without any objective necessity, to establish disproportionate conditions (requirements) for the payment of the awarded sickness benefit and, in this way, create preconditions for aggravating the possibilities of the person to receive the social assistance that is to be awarded to him.

  1. It needs to be noted that, as mentioned before, the impugned legal regulation, which is established in Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, consolidated the sole manner of payment of the sickness benefit to the person to whom it is awarded (calculated): transfer to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania. Thus, as mentioned before, the person could receive (could be paid) the sickness benefit awarded to him if that person (recipient of the sickness benefit) held a personal account in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania and indicated it to an appropriate state institution, which would then transfer the awarded sickness benefit to the indicated account.
  2. It needs to be noted that the legislator, by consolidating the right of persons covered by social insurance of sickness to receive the sickness benefit in the cases and conditions provided for by the law, has given the persons concerned an expectation that sickness benefits awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law will be paid without any additional conditions creating preconditions to disproportionately aggravate the implementation of the aforesaid right.
  3. As mentioned before, under the Constitution, inter alia Article 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, one may also not establish any such legal regulation whereby the payment of the sickness benefit awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law would be associated with the disproportionate payment conditions that create preconditions for aggravating the implementation of the right to receive social assistance in the event of sickness.

Consequently, when establishing, upon the commissioning by the legislator, in the impugned Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations the procedure for the payment of the sickness benefit provided for in the law, the Government could not, under the Constitution, associate the payment of that benefit only with the sole manner of payment (transfer of the awarded benefit to a personal account held by the benefit recipient in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania), which disproportionately aggravates the receipt of the sickness benefit or makes it altogether impossible where the recipient of the awarded benefit does not hold any personal account in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania or has no possibility of using an account held in a credit establishment due to his state of health or the limited activities of the credit establishment.

  1. It needs to be held that Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, under which it is altogether impossible to pay the sickness benefit awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law if the benefit recipient does not hold any personal account in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, prescribed a disproportionate condition (requirement) for the payment of the sickness benefit awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law and, thereby, created preconditions for aggravating the receipt of social assistance in the event of sickness and deviated from the imperatives of the implementation of the rights of the person arising from Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, insofar as it, after establishing that “sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a bank located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, did not provide for any other ways of paying the sickness benefits, awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law, to their recipients, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  3. On 8 April 2009, the Government adopted the Resolution “On Amending the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Approval of the Regulations of Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity’ of 25 January 2001”, whereby it set the impugned Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations in the following way: “Sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania not later than within 15 working days of the day of the receipt of an application together with all the required documents in the territorial office.”
  4. On 26 August 2009, the Government adopted the Resolution “On Amending the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Approval of the Regulations of Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity’ of 25 January 2001”, whereby it set Item 61 (wording of 8 April 2009) of the Regulations in the following way:

“Sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania not later than within 15 working days of the day of the receipt of an application together with all the required documents and/or data in the territorial office.

In those cases where a decision regarding the awarding of the paternity benefit is adopted before the expiry of the paternity leave, the benefit shall be paid within 5 working days of the expiry of that leave.”

  1. After comparing the impugned legal regulation established in Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations with that established in (the newly set forth) Item 61 (wording of 8 April 2009) and the first paragraph of Item 61 (wording of 26 August 2009) of Regulations, it is clear that the legal regulation of the manner of payment of the sickness benefit, i.e. the transfer of that benefit to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, did not change in the aspect impugned by the petitioner.
  2. Item 61 (wording of 26 August 2009) of the Regulations has not subsequently been amended and/or supplemented.
  3. It has been held in this Constitutional Court’s ruling that Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006) of the Regulations, insofar as it, after establishing that “sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a bank located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, did not provide for any other ways of paying sickness benefits, awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law, to their recipients, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Having held this, on the grounds of the same arguments, one is also to hold that Item 61 (wording of 8 April 2009) of the Regulations, insofar as it, after establishing that “sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, did not provide for any other ways of paying sickness benefits, awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law, to their recipients, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as the first paragraph of Item 61 (wording of 26 April 2009) of the Regulations, insofar as it, after establishing that “sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, does not provide for any other ways of paying sickness benefits, awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law, to their recipients, is in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 531, 54, 55 and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

ruling:

  1. To recognise that Item 68 (wording of 27 September 2006; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 105-4009) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it prescribed that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wordings of 21 December 2000 and 4 December 2007) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance.
  2. To recognise that Item 68 (wording of 16 January 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 11-387) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it prescribed that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment were submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance.
  3. To recognise that Item 68 (wording of 27 August 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 104-3982) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it prescribed that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment are submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance.
  4. To recognise that Item 68 (wording of 21 August 2012; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2012, No. 99-5052) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it prescribes that sickness benefits are awarded if applications for their payment are submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the end of the sickness period, and that these benefits are paid not more than for the 12 preceding months, counting from the day of the application to award the benefit, also insofar as it prescribes that, in the cases where the electronic certificate of incapacity to work is issued after the end of the sickness period, the sickness benefit is awarded if an application for its payment is submitted to the benefit payer not later than within 6 months of the day of issuing the electronic certificate of incapacity to work, is in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and Article 15 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance.
  5. To recognise that Item 61 (wording of 27 September 2006; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 105-4009) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it, after establishing that “sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, did not provide for any other ways of paying sickness benefits, awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law, to their recipients, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  6. To recognise that Item 61 (wording of 8 April 2009; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 42-1620) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it, after establishing that “sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, did not provide for any other ways of paying sickness benefits, awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law, to their recipients, was in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  7. To recognise that the first paragraph of Item 61 (wording of 26 August 2009; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 107-4475) of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity, as approved by the Resolution (No. 86) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Approval of the Regulations on Social Insurance Benefits of Sickness and Maternity” of 25 January 2001, insofar as it, after establishing that “sickness <...> benefits shall be transferred to a personal account indicated by the benefit recipient and held by him in a credit establishment located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, does not provide for any other ways of paying sickness benefits, awarded on the grounds and under the conditions provided for by the law, to their recipients, is in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

 

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The ruling is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                         Egidijus Bieliūnas

                                                                                             Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                             Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                             Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                             Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                             Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

                                                                                             Dainius Žalimas