Handicapped sign 311.
(photo credit: courtesy)
The overall welfare package for people and children with disabilities will get a
boost in the coming months after an agreement reached this week between rights
organizations that represent the disabled and the government.
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new agreement, announced Saturday, the Welfare and Social Services Ministry
together with the National Insurance Institute will increase the total welfare
budget for people with disabilities by some NIS 200 million.
agreement comes after fierce protests in October 2010 by hundreds of people with
disabilities, angry over the government’s failure to increase disability
allowances and improve other welfare benefits for more than nine
According to information from the disability-rights organization,
close to 200,000 people receive full disability benefits, which amounts to less
than NIS 2,400 a month. The community called for this to be increased at least
to the minimum wage, which is NIS 4,100 a month, and asked for reductions in
their utility bills.
In light of the grievances aired during those
protests, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed a panel headed by National
Insurance Institute directorgeneral Esther Dominissini and made up of
representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Treasury and NGOs
representing people with disabilities.
“We have achieved a substantial
budget increase in order to improve the lives of people with disabilities,”
commented Dominissini in a statement released to the media
“This is a population with severe and complex disabilities and
special attention must be given to them.”
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Dominissini also said that the
panel had recognized the emotional economic burden imposed on families of
children with severe disabilities.
Included among the new benefits will
be a 28 percent increase or NIS 593 rise in the monthly package for some 4,800
parents of children with severe disabilities. The rise will come in stages over
the next two years, raising the monthly stipend to NIS 2,860 in 2012 and NIS
3,072 in 2013.
In addition, adults with severe mental or emotional
disabilities – roughly 11,000 people – will see a rise of NIS 244 a month and
there will be a one-time compensation pay-out for people with severe
disabilities who are recipients of special services.
“These benefits are
an important development for the disabled population in Israel and will improve
their quality of life,” said Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe
He added that he planned to also push through legislation that
would further improve their quality of life and highlighted that certain social
welfare services would be boosted in order to better accommodate the disabled
Those changes include adding 1,000 new placements for
children with disabilities in ministry-run after-school programs. This would
allow children to stay in an official framework until at least 4 p.m. and
therefore easing the burden on parents.
Also, children whose disability
is so severe that they cannot attend programs outside the home will be eligible
for a caregiver for up to eight hours a day or a total of 40 hours a week,
allowing parents to join the workforce.
Finally, agreements were also
reached between the parties to offer subsidies for electricity and public
“The benefits we have achieved so far are not the final word,”
“We will continue to improve the standard of living for
people with disabilities, as well as for all disadvantaged groups in our
“This is not only our mission but also our moral and social
responsibility,” he concluded.
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