Czech Government's Budget Cuts Hurt the Disabled

5. 10. 2010 / Jiří Hrebenar

Disabled citizens are being pushed by this center right cabinet more and more to the margins of society. As a very weak part of our population, that minority doesn't know how to properly defend themselves. A lot of disabled people are so ill that they can't just get up and go protest in front of the government's headquarters. Their health is so poor that every single trip anywhere is just yet another difficult challenge.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

And politicians count on all that. To make things worse, the organizations that should defend the rights of the handicapped don't function properly. The Czech National Council for People with Health Problems (Národní rada osob se zdravotním postižením ČR) of MP Václav Krása is so weak that they aren't anble to oppose the government in any way. Why would they, right? The organization is just a politicized group with a weak leader. Almost always the organization reacted late and with minimal vigour.

The first cuts affecting the disabled were instituted during the days of minister Šimerka. How many times have we, the handicapped people, begged politicians, including Mr Krása, not to cut our benefits, to no avail...

That's what happened when we saw the subsidies to help us buy motorized vehicles go down 25% for the "third level" disabled and by 60% to those in the second level category. For people who can't move in any other way than by car that was a big blow. The money helped buy gasoline. The government basically decided to decrease the mobility of those physically challenged.

And nowadays? Even worse. The disabled used to be able to get money from the government to help pay for social services. That means that with the help from the State a handicapped person could hire someone to help, to bring meals, clean, do the shopping and perform the other home tasks. To make it short, that help made it possible for a lot of physically and mentally challenged people to live in their homes, instead of institutions, since 2007.

There are 4 levels of government funds, according to each health challenge type. The first level is for the lighter cases, while the fourth is for the most heavily disabled people. There are about 230 thousand people getting this kind of State help, 113 thousand of whom are on the first level. And exactly for those in that category the government has decreased the hand-out from 2 thousand Czech crowns per month to a mere 800 CzK per month.

Just that there wasn't anyone fighting against those cuts. From January 2011 the handicapped from level 1 will no longer have enough money to pay for the necessary social assistance they need, so who will take care of them? Who will cook for them? Who will help them with personal hygiene? Who will do their shopping? For various reasons, they will simply not have enough from their pensions to pay for that. Already today, they have to count each crown, while now it will become even worse.

To make things worse, the new government has cut the support for mothers who are kept from working because they have to look after their handicapped kid. More than 50 thousand families will get on the border of poverty at the beginning of 2011. Why has this cabinet chosen to cause that? A mother like that cannot just simply leave her kid home and go to work. These mothers have children with needs that require their attention all day long. All of a sudden they have got hit and find themselves in a situation impossible to solve. How come the government doesn't realize that home care is much cheaper and of better quality, and because of that a mother who stays with her handicapped kid is much better for all involved. The government should not choke those mothers even more. But once again, no one did anything to stop it.

Who cares, right? Just some handicapped children, who in any case are not of any use for the State... I get sad by seeing all this that is happening. And the government will also cancel the tax benefits given to those who employ handicapped workers next year. They until now get a certain discount for employing people with health challenges, but now this will disappear. That will obviously lead to those few handicapped who have a job to be let go.

I get very sad when I see a government that is taking away the little some sick people still have. People who cannot go out in the streets to protest. Politicians just misuse the fact that we will stay quiet against whatever cuts they promote, so they will also silently continue to squeeze the powerless handicapped. When will healthy people fight for the handicapped?


Obsah vydání | Sobota 10.12. 2016