Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou on Thursday unveiled a series of measures for people with disabilities or long term diseases that were approved by cabinet in order to facilitate their integration into society.
The measures affect about 6000 people with mobility problems, visual impairment, kidney problems or thalassaemia at an annual cost of €4.2 m which represents a 30% increase in the care and mobility benefits offered, she said. Total annual expenditure of the relevant department at the ministry is €40 m a year, she added.
- 750 tetraplegics who currently receive a care benefit will see an increase from €854.30 to €900 monthly beginning from this month. Those with additional needs for specialised care because of life threatening complications to their health will be entitled to €1,100 a month
- 950 paraplegics who currently receive a care benefit will see an increase from €350 to €400 a month as from this month. In cases of life threatening complications requiring additional specialised care they will receive €500 a month
- 2,300 individuals with tetraplegia, paraplegia or other mobility or visual impairment, kidney problems or thalassaemia who currently receive a mobility benefit will see an increase on approval of the new law from €102 to €150 a month or from €51 to €75 a month
- 1,900 blind people who currently do not receive a mobility benefit because they do not work or study will on approval of the relevant law receive a mobility benefit of €75 a month, irrespective of whether they study or work and irrespective of their age
Recipients do not need to submit any applications and the process will be handled by the special department for the disabled and the funds transferred into their accounts. Only tetraplegics and paraplegics allowed additional aid for special care must apply so that their application can be evaluated by the department, she said.
Moreover, in a move to encourage the entry of people with chronic ailments into the workforce, cabinet also approved the relaunch of an incentives scheme. The €2m scheme, which is financed by the European Social Fund, aims at the hiring of 100 unemployed people with long term disease.
Meanwhile, tenders have been launched for an additional assisted living facilities in all the towns for people with mental disability or autism who do not have an adequate support system.
Cabinet has also decided to establish a support centre for autism to provide educational and other support to pre-school children with autism so as to prepare them for school.