Changes in the Estonian Social Welfare Act

As an obliged persons to provide care – informal carers are recognised by the Estonian state.
Until recently, according to the Family Law Act children and grandchildren were required to
take care of their elderly (grand)parents (§96. Adult ascendants and descendants related in the
first and second degree are required to provide maintenance.)

With changes in the Estonain Social Welfare act, the State is aiming at contributing to the
provision of better care and facilitate people's affairs. With the change, both the state and the
local government will provide people with faster and more comprehensive necessary assistance
in the future.

Several changes in the act are related to long-term care, identification of the need for assistance
and provision of assistance. The local government should give priority to support measures
supporting living at home when providing assistance. Institutional care cannot be preferred
simply because it is easier and cheaper to arrange. When offering and organizing assistance, the
focus must be on the person, not the system. Also, when assessing the need for assistance of a
person in need of care, the local government is also obliged to assess the need for support of a
close person (person with a care burden) who provides care and to offer him or her appropriate

In regards to maintenance obligation, now there is an exemption of second-degree relatives from
the maintenance obligation, ie grandchildren are no longer required to pay for the care of their