From January 1, the procedure for determining disability and work capacity will change: what is important to know?

From now on, services for people with disabilities will be provided in a one-stop shop, disability assessment processes, the need to compensate for individual assistance costs and coordination of assistance will be changed, as well as new and old terms will be introduced and the availability of information will be improved.

Significant changes in the procedure for determining disability, systematic restructuring of assistance and services provided to disabled people, are being implemented after the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the new version of the Law on Disability. social integration of people with disabilities and accompanying amendments. to legal acts, which will come into force from 2024. January 1

From January 1, after the reorganization, the Disability and Work Ability Determination Service of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor will be called the Agency for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ANTAA). It will be established by merging the Disability and Work Capacity Department and the Department of Disability Affairs and its subordinate institutions. The new agency will also be responsible for assessing disability, determining individual assistance cost reimbursement needs, providing basic services and assistance to persons with disabilities, and other related functions .

According to Yelena Ivančenko, Deputy Director of the currently reorganized Disability and Work Capacity Assessment Service (NDNT), one of the key goals of the ongoing reform is to clearly regulate the mechanism for ensuring and implementing implements the rights of people with disabilities, improving the disability assessment model, legalizing the coordination of assistance, and eliminating discriminatory concepts against people with disabilities. , to optimize the activities and functions of institutions operating in the field of disability.

The “one-stop shop” principle is introduced and the procedure for determining disability is also modified

One of the most important changes is that after the entry into force of the new procedure, all necessary assistance for people with disabilities will be provided at a one-stop shop. This will help ensure a simpler, faster and more efficient service for people with disabilities. “Currently, assistance needs are determined by different institutions, and there is no established mechanism to coordinate actions between them and exchange information. It is therefore not easy for a disabled person seeking assistance. the help of knowing when and to which institution to contact,” explains J. Ivanchenko.

For the implementation of the entire disability reform, which consists of many complex actions, the budget of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor (SADM) provides about 10 million. EUR. “The main objective is to ensure the independence of people with disabilities in all areas of life, their involvement in social life, to facilitate their integration into the labor market and to avoid poverty and exclusion. It is very important that a disabled person immediately receives the necessary help and comprehensive measures, so that they do not become even more vulnerable,” says Lauryna Filatovaitė-Vyčienė, advisor to the SADM Minister.

Until now, the assessment of disability in Lithuania was mainly based on medical criteria. From the beginning of 2024, when the new procedure comes into force, everyone’s individual needs will be taken into greater account. The objective is to provide assistance that would enable people with disabilities to participate in all areas of personal and social life: education, labor market, cultural life, political activities, etc. Furthermore, reducing the influence of medical criteria in the assessment of disability will simplify the process of determining disability for people suffering from a particularly serious health problem. Common medical criteria will be applied to all age groups, mobile teams will appear that will travel to a person’s place of residence and assess the need for individual assistance.

It is true that NDNT emphasizes that for all people who have been diagnosed with a disability until 2024, this will be valid until the end of the fixed period – there will be no need to apply again at the agency.

A new support coordination service will be established

In order to know the type of help and specific measures a person needs and to obtain this help more quickly and easily, a new position of support manager will be created within the Agency for the Protection of rights of people with disabilities. By providing the aid coordination service, the manager will contribute to the development of an individual plan to assist a disabled person and will monitor its implementation.

Once the person has agreed to be entrusted with support coordination and a support plan has been developed, completing the individual support needs questionnaire will allow different areas of life to be assessed and to explain what type of help the person needs to be able to participate in public life. The responsible institutions will be informed of the determined need, who will then “come” to the person and offer specific services based on the determined need.

“It is very important that a disabled person immediately receives the necessary complex assistance. We hope that thanks to these measures, the participation of disabled people of working age in the labor market will increase to 39 percent in 2025 and to 47 percent in 2030,” says L. Filatovaitė-Vyčienė. Currently, 29 percent of them are employed in the country. disabled Lithuanian residents of working age.

We will call a disabled person a disabled person, “level of work capacity” is replaced by “level of participation”

Terms related to disability also change with the new law. Until now, the terms “disabled”, “work capacity level”, “special needs” will be replaced by “disabled person”, “participation level”, “individual support needs” from 2024.

It is true that even if the notion of “level of work capacity” will be replaced by that of “level of participation”, the percentage of disability will not change. It will be determined not only for people of working age, but also for those who have reached retirement age. For people of retirement age who, on 1 January 2024, a level of special needs has been identified, it will be adapted to the appropriate level of participation if the person requests it.

The names and levels of targeted reimbursements for health or care expenses are also changing. For a child or adult who, due to limited autonomy, requires the help or care of another person, the need for compensation for individual assistance costs can be determined.

Targeted reimbursements for care or care costs awarded until 2023. December 31 and will continue to be paid until the end of the fixed duration.

“The amended terms are more consistent with their meaning and are less discriminatory.” For example, a disabled person is now assigned a level of work capacity, even if this is only partially linked to the person’s work capacity. A disabled person has the right to access or, in other words, participate in all areas of life, therefore the conditions of special needs and level of work capacity will be changed from next year for participation”, explains J. Ivanchenko.

Another innovation: from now on, greater care will be taken to ensure that people with disabilities are not isolated from information, that it is more accessible to them and presented in a more understandable way. Taking into account the individual needs of each person with a disability, from 2024 January 1 there will be possibilities to request information in the chosen mode of communication: sign language (for the deaf and hard of hearing), easily understandable language (for people with intellectual disabilities, reading and comprehension problems) or braille (for the visually impaired).

Currently, Lithuania has around 221,000 people. people with disabilities, of whom only 34 percent use means of social inclusion (social services, technical means, specialized assistance, etc.). Around 23,000 people receive a first diagnosis of disability each year. people, and mainly people of working age, have a moderate disability (46%).

Source: The Delfi

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