“There Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted all carence in our social protection system: that welfare that should have protected the most vulnerable, and among them also people with disabilities and their families, it was not sufficient protection ”. Vincenzo Falabella is the president of Fish Onlus (Italian Federation for Overcoming Handicap), which on July 16 and 17 will hold the National Congress entitled “Pandemic, Disability and Resilience“.
One year after Constitutional Court ruling which increased the monthly amount of the disability pension due to the total civil invalids (la 152 of 2020), also recognizing the right to receive checks for over 18s and no longer only for over 60s as expected up to that moment, Falabella agreed to take stock with TPI on economic support and services for people with disabilities and their families, which remains lacking to date.
The concern is grounded in the data: even before the onset of the pandemic, they highlighted the greatest risk of poverty or social exclusion for people with disabilities, as he reminds TPI Roberto Speziale, national president of Anffas (National Association of Families of People with Intellectual and / or Relational Disabilities). According to the Eurostat estimates for 2019, referring to 2018, in fact, in Italy the 29.5 percent of people with disabilities they are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, against 24.1 per cent of people without disabilities. A figure – the Italian one – worse than the European average of 28.4 per cent.
“We come out of a moment of great economic and social difficulty”, underlines Falabella. “The pandemic unfortunately has gripped the many people with disabilities and their families. R.we believe that a large one is needed comprehensive reform for disability, which passes from the recognition of the condition, overcoming the assessment, and which satisfies the needs of citizens ”.
The ruling of the Constitutional Court and the risk of discrimination
Between June and July of last year, the judges of the Council, responding to a question of constitutionality raised by a Piedmontese family with a daughter with disability and disability recognized at 100 per cent, established that the monthly amount of the disability pension due to the total civil invalids, equal to € 286.81, “Is undeniably, and manifestly, insufficient” to ensure the “minimum vital”.
The Court ruled that, even if the adjustment falls within the discretion of the legislator, disabled civilians who are totally unable to work are entitled to the so-called “increase to one million” of the disability pension from the age of 18, without waiting for the 60, and therefore he increased the allowance to the amount of 651.51 euros. The ruling notes that the higher expenditure borne by the state, moreover, does not violate Article 81 of the Constitution because they are at stake incompressible rights of the person. Budget constraints, therefore, cannot prevail. After the sentence, the INPS ruling intervened, which also extended to people with blindness and deafness the benefit of this increase.
All disabled people who have been recognized remain outside the scope of the sentence partial civil invalidity (i.e. between 74 and 99 percent) who continue to receive € 286.81 per month, even if they have a very low income limit. “This is not tolerable, because it creates a ‘further inequality“, Underlines a TPI Apothecary. “The hope is that all invalidity pensions are adequate to the minimum, even if, at present, Parliament does not seem to be willing to do so, or at least there is no evidence in this sense ”.
For the president of Anffas, the inertia of the legislator is mainly due to “a accounting element“. “Our policy”, explains Speziale, “continues to subordinate rights to existing resources. Resources are few and when it comes to allocating them, people with disabilities are not seen in the priority of those who allocate them as people to whom rights are recognized. The crumbs continue to be left behind ”.
The requests of the associations
“Like Anffas, we hope that article 24 of law 320 of 2000 will finally be implemented law from 21 years ago, still in force, ”says Speziale. “The law provided that within 60 days of its entry into force, the competent ministry would issue a implementing decree with the reorganization of all economic benefits for people with disabilities, giving all a series of very specific prescriptions, to guarantee the threshold below which a dignified life is not possible. 21 years have passed, and our country has never implemented this law“.
“On the other hand”, continues President Anffas, “it also goes to people with disabilities guaranteed the right to a job, because the disability allowance could be balanced in this case, and even more dignity would be guaranteed to them. On the other hand, there is no access to work, Law 68 is a total failure. Only 3 per cent of the people registered in the targeted placement lists, 780 thousand people, find a job ”.
“As a federation, we have applauded the turning point that the sentence has marked, but we believe that the ruling of the Court is not enough. Now we need to redesign a whole series of interventions ”, is Falabella’s comment. “Our National Congress will be held on July 16th and 17th, within which there will be all political forces. The secretaries of the government and opposition parties were invited and accepted the confrontation. On Friday there will be a round table, on Saturday we will go into specifics on what the intervention policies of the current government will be ”. The Minister of Disability will confront each other Erika Stefani, the Minister of Labor Andrea Orlando, the undersecretary for school inclusion Rossano Sasso, and the representatives of Regions and Municipalities (Massimiliano Fedriga and Antonio De Caro).
For the president of Fish Onlus “The issue of the pension increase is important and must be addressed, but in one framework of intervention policies that can lead to guaranteeing the centrality of the person and the enforceability of rights “. Falabella points out that “We must understand the present to guide the future and ensure that what people have suffered, specifically those with disabilities and their families, does not happen again”. And he adds: “For us the goal is to move from a protective welfare, which it did not protect during the pandemic, to a inclusion welfare, which we believe is right and right to plan and build. A welfare of recognition of human, civil and social rights ”.
“For years we have been asking the national and regional government forces for interventions aimed at stem the segregation phenomenon, through programmatic policies and targeted interventions that can overcome the purely economic aspect ”, adds Falabella. “We believe that overcoming this stalemate can pass through the construction of dedicated services: training, access to school, access to university courses available for people with disabilities, access to the world of work, in order to build a life project independent that is not merely economic but also of enforceability of rights that can lead to putting the person with disabilities and his family at the center “.
“This is the big change we are asking for in politics, a big one taking responsability, starting from the NRP (National Recovery and Resilience Plan, ed) but knowing full well that the resources within the plan are not enough, it is necessary to program a system of sustainability of the interventions that can guarantee rights. All this goes through a strong economic investment on what should be the next upcoming intervention policies towards people with disabilities. The Fish Congress of July 16-17 will be there proof of authority what an associative movement it has built over these long years and which it will make available to political and government forces ”.
“Our politicians all continue to declare that they have great attention and sensitivity for families and people with disabilities,” says Speziale. “We would like them to begin to implement the reorganization law and give dignity and rights to people with disabilities and their families. We would like this to happen without the need for appeal to the Italian or international courts, which we will soon be forced to do if this inertia of our legislator persists ”.
Although, “there are many initiatives, bills, amendments presented by all political forces”, Speziale explains that “all these parliamentary solicitations then all break down on the lack of financial coverage”, mainly because “disability is seen as a burden, as a welfare cost, and not as an investment to guarantee rights “. In reality, he adds, “on closer inspection, those resources are all transformed into investments: for example, disabled people, thanks to those funds, will be able to have a personal assistant, promote employment. Thus it becomes a productive, not unproductive expense. But the short-sightedness of our policy that allows it to make this effort ”.
At the moment, in any case, “we do not find any response to our needs neither in government measures nor in the NRP on the subject ”, he argues. “There is not yet an organic framework, an expressed political will to rearrange economic provisions. This is why we are very worried and disappointed by the choice to leave this segment of citizens in conditions ”.
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