No matter where we live in the world, we may one day have to deal with the reality of being disabled and needing some adjustment and support to live a full and independent life. Any disability lawyer, Toronto or Timbuktu, will tell you that disability and illness can happen to any of us, whether because of a personal injury or a long-term health condition. In an ideal world every society would provide adequate support for disabled citizens.
However, the support that is available varies very widely, and different countries follow different models: in one country you may receive financial support directly from the state, whereas in another you might have to go through a disability insurance company. We’ve put together a list of a few key facts about disability claims from around the world – how do you think Canada compares?
#1 Over a billion people live with a disability
In 2011 the World Health Organization and World Bank published the World Report on Disability, which estimated that over one billion people around the world are living with a long-term or short-term disability: that’s 15% of the world’s population! However, this population is not distributed equally around the globe: almost 80% of the world’s disabled people live in low-income countries.
#2 France has among the most ‘generous’ unemployment benefits in Europe
In France, as in many countries, your rate of and eligibility for disability benefit is tied to your earning potential before and after you became disabled. Citizens who are under the legal age of retirement can make disability claims if they are unable, because of their disability, to earn a wage at least a third of what they would normally be paid if they were able to work as they previously did.
#3 Germany automatically insures disabled children
Disabled children in Germany are automatically included in their parents’ health insurance scheme without having to pay any additional costs. Disabled children and students also have the right to various adjustments to help them access society freely, such as wheelchair access, a sign language translator if they need one, and so on.
#4 Italy has been criticised for not helping disabled people live independently
The Academic Network of European Disability found that the funds accessible to disabled Italians through disability benefit are not really high enough to allow them to live autonomously, and that the state does not do enough to support and encourage disabled Italians to work. The general unemployment rate in Italy is high, but it is disproportionately higher for adults with longterm disability, and so is the rate of poverty.
#5 Disabled citizens in Japan get discounts as well as financial assistance
Disability claims in Japan are based on your income as well as the severity of your disability, and the rates paid out are not especially high. However, disabled citizens are entitled to discounts on public transport and telecom fees as well as this funding.
#6 Sweden built disability proofing into their planning laws
Sweden and the Nordic countries more generally have a reputation for a liberal and supportive approach to the public sector safety net. However, in recent years Sweden’s government has sought to reduce its spending on disability claims, to the point that their long-term disability provision is now worse than the OECD average. What’s more, some of that spending was on entitlements to adaptations that disabled people may need for their home. To try to reduce the number and amount of future claims, Sweden have a clause in their planning laws stating that planning permission will not be given unless the house is pre-adjusted for disability access, for example with a wheelchair-accessible bathroom.
#7 The vast majority of disabled Americans get no help from the state
One in five Americans has a disability, and there are still huge barriers to work for disabled people in many fields: yet for every ten claims made to Social Security Disability Insurance, six are rejected.
The UN states that every country is required to provide some support to its disabled citizens: yet the provision of this support is far from consistent. Call the Yazdani Law Office today to make sure you get the support you need and deserve.