Disabled welfare to be launched this year

Thursday, January 27, 2011
Issue 1222, Page 2
Word count: 468
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

A series of welfare allowances for the disabled in Macau including bus concession and medical subsidies are likely to be rolled out within this year, acting president of the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) Iong Kong Io disclosed yesterday.

Iong said welfare for the disabled is a long-term plan for the Government, revealing that the draft law proposing an annual subsidy for this group of people has already been approved by the Executive Council and will be delivered to the Legislative Assembly for deliberation and voting “shortly”.

According to the 3/2011 Administration Regulation concerning the disability classification system promulgated on January 24, an impairment can be categorised in six types – visual, hearing, speech, physical, intellectual and mental, and in four separate degrees – mild, moderate, severe and profound.

Iong said in the draft law the IAS has proposed that people who are on the mild or moderate level of disability will receive MOP 5,000 per year, while those on the severe or profound level of disability will get MOP 10,000.

The payments shall also be backdated to January 1, 2009, he added.

If a person has more than one type of disability, the subsidy amount will be determined based on the disability with the higher degree of severity.

The IAS chief said free medical care and bus concessions for the disabled will be launched later this year.

However, in order to benefit from any of these allowances in the near future, disabled people must hold a disability assessment registration card, which shows the type(s) and degree of disability of the holder.

The IAS will start handing out application forms for the registration cards and accepting applications on March 11, the same day the administrative regulation comes into effect.

Applications and the related disability assessment are free of charge.

Iong stressed that there is no deadline for applications and urged people not to rush to apply.

He said the duration of the assessment process varies for each individual, but assured that a registration card can be issued within one month after the assessment report is completed.

A registration card will normally be valid for five years.

The assessment will be carried out by the IAS with the assistance from the Health Bureau, Education and Youth Affairs Bureau or Kiang Wu Hospital if necessary.

Applicants can appeal to the IAS if they do not agree with the assessment results or even file an administrative appeal to the court ultimately.

The assessment tools and methods will be announced in a dispatch by the secretary for Social Affairs and Culture at a later time, Iong said.

A file will be opened for each applicant and their assessment reports will be stored in a database managed by the IAS to be used as a reference for related Government policies, research and service planning.

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