«No cuts to disability allowances or funds» – WWN

«No cuts to disability allowances or funds» – WWN

Of Maria Giovanna Faiella

At Corriere Salute, the Minister for Disabilities Alessandra Locatelli gives a response to the concerns of people with disabilities following the transfer of resources to Advances decree and the failure to restore them in the budget bill

Is awakening worry
the news of cuts to resources allocated to disabilitiesfirst col “transfer”, to the so-called Advances Decree, of 350 million euros of the Fund for policies in favor of people with disabilities – allocation expected from 2022, every year, for the implementation of law no. 227/2021 Delegation to the Government on disability matters – , then col failure to restore those funds in the 2024 budget bill. As also confirmed by various reports to Courier Health, people with disabilities and their family members
they fear cuts both in terms of services and economic benefits and benefits.
Let’s try to clarify things by giving voice to their concerns and the answers given to Courier by the Minister for Disabilities, Alessandra Locatelli.

Enabling law on disabilities and resources

On 31 December 2021, Law no. came into force. 227 Delegation to the Government on disability mattersin implementation of Mission 5 Inclusion and Cohesion of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), which provides the implementation of a reform of the legislation on disabilitieswith a view to deinstitutionalization of people with disabilities and the strengthening of their autonomyin line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by our country in 2009.
Pfor the implementation of the “Enabling Law” which, in fact, delegates the Government to adopt legislative decrees to regulate the matter, one has been provided for economic endowment of 350 million euros per year
with the establishment of the Single National Fund for policies in favor of people with disabilities. Originally, as provided for by the Law itself, the implementing decrees had to be approved within 20 months of its entry into force, deadline then extended with subsequent measures.

Single fund provided for by the budget bill for 2024

Another thing, however, is the new Single Fund for the inclusion of people with disabilities that is coming provided for in the budget bill for 2024: in this the four Funds will merge (or, rather, three) to date existing regarding disabilitiesfor a total of 336 million in 2023 – that is to say: Fund for the inclusion of people with disabilities (100 million in 2023 but not refinanced for 2024); Fund to assist the autonomy and communication of students with disabilities; Fund to support the care and assistance role of the family caregiver; Fund for the inclusion of deaf and hearing impaired people.

The doubt: Shifting resources or cutting?

You can’t save on disabilities, says theItalian Association of People with Down Syndrome (Aipd). President Gianfranco Salbini, on behalf of the Association’s family members, wrote a letter to ministers Locatelli and Calderone, expressing concern about the “shift”, not to mention the “cut” of 350 million euros intended for the “Fund for policies in favor of people with disabilities”: resources used with the so-called “Advance Decree” to cover the increased costs. We have read Minister Locatelli’s replies and the promise to “restore them” as soon as the decrees are in place. We ask the entire government not to fail in this commitment and to ensure the necessary resources to support the major disability reform that we have been waiting for for some time. Disability must be a priority, and no one must be left behind underlines the president of Aipd.

The proposal of the 16 November Committee

Also the November 16th Committee – Association for ALS and highly disabling pathologies wrote to Minister Locatelli expressing dismay at the reduction of 350 million euros intended for projects for people with disabilities, returned to the state coffers and used to cover the “Advance Decree”. President Mariangela Lamanna explains: Cwe ask that the 350 million euros remain available for interventions for disabilities, to deal with the many emergencies that people and their families face: could flow into the new “Single Fund for the inclusion of people with disabilities” provided for by the 2024 Budget Law. Also because, Lamanna points out, the newly established Single Fund will be able to count on an allocation of approximately 232 million euros, 104 less than the 336 million that covered 4 separate funds, merged into this new single Fund.

The Minister’s reassurances

He says to Courier the Minister for Disabilities, Alessandra Locatelli: First of all, I would like to reassure you many people are worried because they read about “disability cuts”:
there are no reductions in disability pensions or other economic benefits. Compared to “Single Fund for the inclusion of people with disabilities” which will be established by the Budget law, – underlines the Minister – it is a new model that simplifies the planning of interventions, therefore the lives of people with disabilities. His endowment of 231.8 million of euros per year, starting from 2024, will be managed by the Presidency of the Council and directly assigned to my ministry who, as is known, has no wallet (no spending money ed). The resources of the already existing funds will flow into it, except for the “Bottom for inclusion with disabilities” (100 million allocated in 2022 and 2023), not refinanced for the years 2024 and followingbut what I plan to refinance soon with regulatory action; therefore, subsequently, this will also flow into the “Single Fund”.

Implementing decrees, when?

As for the 350 million diverted to the “Advance Decree”, Locatelli says: They were in the chapter for the enabling law on disabilities (n. 227/2021) e they could not be used because they were linked to legislative decrees which will allow its concrete implementation e which aren’t there yet. THE “heart” decrees of the Reform, which concern the revision of civil disability and the realization of the individual life project (with the multidimensional assessment of disability), they are ready and I will shortly present them to the Council of Ministers (after the green light from the other competent ministries – Work, Health and Mef -, which are evaluating them); after which the process for definitive approval will begin, which involves various steps (Parliament, Regions, etc.) and, in any case, must be concluded by June 2024 in compliance with the deadlines set by the Pnrr; then, on January 1, 2025, the experimentation limited to some territorial contexts will begin.

Objective: simplify procedures (and people’s lives)

The Minister for Disabilities adds: I would like to reiterate the epochal nature of this reform That will make it possible to simplify procedures and therefore the lives of people with disabilities, putting an end to the fragmentation of interventions, services and resources and also overcoming the problem of repeated visits and checks, which are often a source of inconvenience. I always give an example – says Locatelli –: a mother who receives one very serious diagnosis, already certified by the hospitalthen it must follow various steps to start the recognition procedure
of disability (and law 104), starting with contacting the general practitioner for the introductory certificate, and the patronage. This will no longer be the case in the future, as the first hospital certificate will be enough to start the process.

350 million permanently lost?

Have the resources intended for disability and used for the “Advance Decree” been permanently lost? While waiting for the approval of the implementing decrees, why have they not been used for the many emergencies of people with disabilities and their family members who assist them? Those 350 million could not be used until there are the implementing decrees of the enabling law, but they don’t get lost– repeats Locatelli – . We obtained it from the MEF shift of resources that will be repositioned on the same “Fund for policies in favor of people with disabilities” and increased by 85 million euros per year starting from 2026. Therefore – the Minister simplifies – the 350 million will be spread starting from 2026.
In practice, as reprogrammed by the budget bill, the Fund provides for zero euros for 2023; 350 million for 2024; 350 million for 2025, for 2026: 435 million (350 + 85); for 2027 and following: 385 million (300 + 85).

Other innovations foreseen by the Disability Reform

Furthermore, among the innovations envisaged by the Reform, there are: the introduction ofICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) in the assessment of disability; L’updating of percentage tables stopped in 1992; there definition Of person with disabilities, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, that is: those who have long-lasting physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with barriers of different nature may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with the others; it means preparing the interventions necessary to encourage environments “favorable” to the inclusion of people with disabilities in various life contexts.

November 2, 2023 (modified November 2, 2023 | 6:39 pm)

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