Elections 2024: Who should I vote for if I want to see better care for people with disabilities?

In the run-up to the June elections, Belgium's political parties are staking out their positions on key issues. Today, we look at where they stand on care for persons with disabilities.

At the end of last year, the Flemish Institute for Human Rights (VMRI) declared that Flanders violated the rights of people with disabilities because of the policy around the "person-centred budget", from which people with disabilities pay for their care. The amount is determined by experts on the basis of a person's individual needs. After that, the person is put on a waiting list, which at the end of last year had 17,172 people on it. The VMRI called on Flanders to provide more money to eliminate this waiting list.

PVDA, Vlaams Belang, Vooruit and Groen all promise that they want to comply and eliminate this waiting list. CD&V states that people with the most urgent need to receive guaranteed funding. Open VLD declares that it want to eliminate the waiting lists for persons in a specific priority group. Both Groen and Open VLD are in favour of introducing a person-centred budget for minors.

Groen says it also wants to tackle waiting lists for personal assistance budgets, while PVDA more briefly stresses the importance of access to personal assistance.

No party is clearly talking about deinstitutionalisation, the process of stopping building and renovating institutions that lead to institutionalisation. CD&V does say the following on the issue: "Regardless of whether care institutions are small-scale or large-scale, their care must be on a human scale and firmly rooted in society. We are facing a major shift to promote deinstitutionalisation. We do not intend to demolish facilities. Instead, we want to encourage them to open up and become part of the community."

Francophone parties

Apart from improving care for people with disabilities, francophone parties alsodevote a lot of attention to improving the situation of informal carers, although PTB is more vague on the matter. The other parties stress the importance of offering better recognition and support to informal carers, with improved socio-economic status.

DéFi is also proposing to develop a new branch of social security to optimise the financial autonomy of people with disabilities. “This social cover concerning autonomy must be conceived not as insurance, as is the case with the Flemish and Walloon models of autonomy insurance, but as an integral part of the solidarity-based Social Security model,” the party says.

In the run-up to the elections for the federal, regional and European parliaments on 9 June, Belga English explains how the parties in Belgium want to address today’s challenges. Each day we put the spotlight on one issue.

#FlandersNewsService | Demonstrators in wheelchairs © PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP

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