So far, Henri Kruger has had to rely on help from neighbors to get to work on time or home late at night from Alt Rehse. Because the bus schedule does not fit his shifts and he is not allowed to drive a car. Stefan Sauer
The first bus to the district town rolls at 6 a.m. in the morning.35 o’clock. That may be early for someone who has to go to the office. Henri Kruger’s way to the morning shift is two hours too late. And on late shift days, the 53-year-old has a problem getting home: The last bus of the day leaves from his place of work in Neubrandenburg for his hometown of Alt Rehse in the afternoon.
Henri Kruger loves his work in a Neubrandenburg nursing home, which he probably would not have dreamed of ten years ago. He was no longer able to pursue his original profession in the German Armed Forces when he was diagnosed with epilepsy. For years, the old man from Reh got by with solid jobs in gardening and landscaping, as a tiler and in a stonemasonry business; then last summer he followed a suggestion from the employment agency to take a “taster course” with the German Red Cross (DRK). Since June, he has been working at the Oberbach Center nursing home, where he has acquired knowledge and learned a lot by doing.
Neighbors take turns with “driving service
If only there wasn’t the problem of the almost twelve-kilometer commute to work: Because of his epilepsy, the 53-year-old is not allowed to drive a car; the bus connections between Alt Rehse and Neubrandenburg, however, are not really compatible with his shifts outside of school bus times – even when his mother-in-law drives him the four kilometers to Krukow early in the morning so that he can get on the bus from Waren there. Several neighbors also take turns bringing the commuter to Neubrandenburg at half past four in the morning or home again at half past eight in the evening.
Such solidary support is a great thing. “But I have to think from shift schedule to shift schedule, who can drive me and when,” claims the care newcomer. A very active neighbor would now himself be absent for months due to illness. And shouldn’t there please be an “official” solution for someone who for objective reasons cannot make his own way to work? The possibility of using a driving service or being reimbursed for cab costs, which would quickly eat up his wages if financed privately?
Referred from one contact person to the next
Kruger first applied to the Integration Office, which is responsible for all matters relating to the participation of people with disabilities in working life. But not in this case, as he learned: Since he had paid into the pension insurance fund for more than 15 years, it was the right place to turn to.
So a new application marathon began: Henri Kruger filled out questionnaires, listed information on driving distances and times, and obtained confirmation from his neurologist that he was unable to drive. The pension insurance company, however, had instead requested an expert opinion and sent further inquiries, all of which he had already answered in the previous papers. At the turn of the year, he received the notice that his application could not be granted due to “lack of cooperation”.
Previously, he had also received information from time to time that support was only possible for distances of 20 kilometers or more, or that his degree of disability of 60 was not sufficient and that he would have to have a care degree – although if he himself were in need of care, he would hardly be able to do his job.
Moving would mean losing his entire environment
Simply moving to Neubrandenburg, however, is not an option. For more than 30 years, Alt Rehse has not simply been Henri Kruger’s place of residence, but his home. He lives here under one roof with his grown-up daughter and the parents of his late wife, takes care of the house and yard, and is also active in the fire department and the village association. With a removal he would lose his whole social surrounding field, on which he (and which on him) would not like to do without.
But the work in the district town is important to him. And the DRK as an employer is interested in keeping the employee. Therefore, Matthias Gorb, facility manager of the DRK nursing home Oberbachzentrum, reports that he was offered to help write an objection. The chance of carpooling had also been examined, but none of the colleagues came from the same direction. The DRK’s own driving service, on the other hand, would need a basis for financing and would also have to be extremely flexible, as changes in the duty roster frequently occur due to illness.
“Perhaps a travel allowance can be applied for at the employment agency,” recommends Gorb, and the authority suggests an individual consultation in response to a Nordkurier inquiry. A general commitment is not possible, the conditions must be examined on a case-by-case basis. The association for the disabled, which has also been approached, is also inviting: “The old man from Rehser is welcome to come by with his documents in order to receive advice.
Pension insurance wants “decisive documents”
The German Pension Insurance North is also pushing for renewed contact. So far, not all the necessary documents have been submitted for the application to be reconsidered. “The decisive ones are missing”, the authority informs and cites as an example a description of the route from home to the bus stop and to the place of work, as well as a current health certificate. The applicant had been informed in detail of what was needed and why in order to have his request reconsidered.
Henri Kruger, on the other hand, is willing to leave no stone unturned: he will take another close look at both the advisory services and the pension insurance requirements.