Rehab Critical Mass, Equality and accessibility

We expect people to be taken into account because they are human beings, not based on their perceived economic contribution. Everyone deserves equal opportunities and equal treatment.

We expect the right to social security. We expect the government to create a system giving all disabled people a real chance to work, to be taxpaying citizens and thus contributing members of society. This is essential for fostering healthy self-esteem in people with disabilities.

At the same time, we expect that those who are unable to work due to their condition be granted the current minimum monthly subsistence income by the state as an inherent right.

Reasoning: If we bindingly accept that every person is a full-fledged citizen of Hungary and that the state must serve its citizens to the greatest possible extent, there are two options in this matter:

  1. Every service has a price, and the state should assume this burden. While this may be justified in select cases, it would severely inhibit healthy rehabilitation and integration.

  2. Every service has a price, so the state should provide individuals with sufficient income, mainly through job creation, supplemented by social benefits. In many cases this is far more conducive to an individual’s integration, their socialization and the development of a healthy self-image.

While the latter option is more desirable, some life situations nevertheless warrant the former.

We expect adequate educational institutions for children with multiple disabilities and real social inclusion. Until these are created, and until many children and young adults remain at home, a support service network accessible nationwide should be set up. Parents should not have to scrape by on care allowance for up to several decades, which only amounts to HUF 53,100 at most (while the subsistence minimum was HUF 87,510 in 2013), but should be given the choice of staying home with their child or getting professional homecare. Figures from July 2014 reveal that 16,456 beneficiaries received the elevated care allowance, while 9,630 beneficiaries received a special care allowance (Ministry of Human Capacities). That makes for a total of 26,000 affected by the matter of care allowance. Survey estimates reveal that 12,000 families have a member with multiple disabilities, and these families face a precarious situation. Seventy-two percent of families in Hungary caring for a member with multiple disabilities live below the poverty line.

We expect to see the current support service network grow and develop, and adapt to the needs of disabled persons in terms of operations and allocated time. We expect that with the involvement of professionals and stakeholders, the legal and financial aspects of this area be reconsidered.

Providing a system of support services is the better, more humane and cost-effective solution as opposed to institutionalisation. We expect that additional services facilitating at-home living be rolled out. We therefore expect that in accordance with the UN Convention signed by Hungary, the practice of developed European Union member states and the guidelines approved by the social work profession, meaningful action be taken shortly.

We expect an acceleration of the deinstitutionalisation programme, as it is one of the basic conditions for replacing large institutions and fostering real integration. Large institutions (residential institutions that accommodate more than one hundred people) should be replaced with smaller residential communities in the form of subsidised housing, in accordance with the principles of the European Union. We expect the state to provide equal housing conditions for disabled people opting for and capable of self-determined independent living. We expect the introduction of incentives for local governments to build accessible or easily convertible social housing for people with disabilities.

We expect true accessibility. We expect equal access to not only the built environment, but also in terms of information and communication and the legal environment. We recommend and expect that professional and stakeholder input be sought directly before completing any public building, residential project or public area. Existing public or community buildings should be reassessed through this lens, action taken and funding provided.

We expect moral and financial recognition for the professionals who work to improve the quality of life of disabled people or simply allow then to exist. We expect laws to provide the physical resources required for their work. We expect financial reward for them that reflects the importance of their effort and gives them not only sustenance, but also access to recreation.

We expect the creation, hand-in-hand with professionals and stakeholders, of a comprehensive rehabilitation system that is fundamentally based on and tailored to the condition of people living with disabilities. This should be a life programme building on the active cooperation of the disabled person and fostering the greatest possible degree of lifelong development, while also conditioning their environment for acceptance, care, assistance and support.