Panel okays increase in allotments for disabled children

CBS report finds one in four disabled adults depressed; only half of severely disabled population in workforce.

Disabled teen  (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Disabled teen
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
The Labor, Welfare and Health Committee approved on Monday an amendment to the National Insurance Institute regulations increasing allotments for disabled children who are completely dependent on assistance from others.
According to the amendment, some 5,000 children will receive a monthly increase of NIS 1,000 to their allotments – from NIS 3,116 to NIS 4,126 – totaling an estimated NIS 61 million per year.
“I signed the amendments after we led the issue out of a view of true justice and well-being in every sense of the word.
It is an important amendment that will help those families and their children here and now,” said Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen Monday.
To date, children with severe disabilities – including cerebral palsy, mental retardation and autism – did not receive additional allotments for special medical services. The additional funds are intended to provide financial assistance to the families for this critical need.
The proposal was recently presented to Cohen and Finance Minister Yair Lapid by MK Karin Elharar and the Ahava organization, which assists disabled children and their families and has been pushing the amendment for over five years.
“This has corrected a historical injustice, and it is important to receive help as parents in our difficult care of that which is most precious to us,” said Dafna Azarzar, CEO of Ahava and a mother to a disabled child.
She thanked the welfare and finance ministers for accomplishing what their predecessors “failed to do, and for opening their hearts and the budget for the benefit of 5,000 families in Israel.”
Also on Monday, the Central Bureau of Statistics released a disheartening report revealing that nearly one in four disabled people often feel depressed compared to only 6% of the general population.
The report was released ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed internationally on December 3.
According to the report, some 17% of the population aged 20 years old and above is considered severely disabled.
The findings further indicate that only 54% of disabled people aged 25-54 are employed, compared to a rate of 83% among the general population.
In addition, 38% of disabled people in this age group do not work, compared to a rate of 13% among the general population.
The report also found 28% of disabled people earn a monthly salary of NIS 4,000 or less while an additional 25% live in constant fear of losing their jobs.
Furthermore, the report says 21% of disabled people between the ages of 20 and 64 years old often feel lonely, compared to 6% in the general population.