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Already 100,000 people with disabilities need the help of an assistant. The ministry is looking for money

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Last year, he was able to use an assistant for 70 hours a month. This year, that number has shrunk to just 24 hours. Signals like the one from Mr. Grzegorz, who uses a wheelchair, come from all over the country. Although government funding for personal assistants for people with disabilities is increasing, the number of applicants is also increasing, which is why the hours are being cut. The ministry hopes that the money will be found. There is also an idea for a systemic solution.

Grzegorz Wojak from Władysławowo, who wrote to us on Kontakt 24, lost his mobility when he was 17 years old. It was an accident during a physical education exam. Since then he has been using a wheelchair.

He needs constant help to function. From getting dressed, through personal hygiene, toileting, to preparing meals and leaving the house.

Grzegorz Wojak says that the help of an assistant relieves the burden on his mother, who has been taking care of him for 30 years TVN24

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Independence and a moment of respite

His mother helps him, and in recent years – thanks to a program of the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy – also a personal assistant for people with disabilities. This help gives him greater independence and gives his mother a moment of respite.

– Mom is smiling, she tries to help, she does what she can. But her back hurts more and more. He has been taking care of me for 30 years – said Mr. Grzegorz in front of the TVN24 camera.

Aid has shrunk dramatically

Last year, he was able to benefit from 70 hours of assistant assistance per month. This year, the number of hours has shrunk to just 24.

As we learn from the Social Welfare Center in Władysławowo, where Mr. Grzegorz submitted the application, last year 21 people took advantage of the program and had 6,300 hours at their disposal. In 2024, 25 people already use the help of assistants. And there are fewer hours – 4,780. At the voivodeship office, which receives government money for the implementation of the program (and transfers it to entities such as the above-mentioned OPS in Włodawa), we learn that in 2024 the funding has been reduced by 45 percent.

The number of applicants is growing rapidly

Information about a more modest scope of assistance comes from people with disabilities from all over Poland.

– This is due to the greater interest in the program. More people and more local governments signed up. The funds, which are higher this year anyway, are unfortunately spread over a larger number of people – said Adam Zawisny from the Institute of Independent Living association in front of the TVN24 camera.

SEE ALSO: PLN 380 for parking at the hospital. “I was taking care of my sick son and I was misled”

According to the ministry's data, while in 2019 112 people used the program, in 2022 this number was 37.7 thousand, and in 2023 it reached as many as 75 thousand, to increase to approximately 100 thousand in 2024. In 2023, the program cost PLN 660 million, in 2024 it will be PLN 985 million.

Budget transfers are possible

Łukasz Krasoń, the government's plenipotentiary for people with disabilities, said in an interview with Anna Wilczyńska, reporter of the “Polska i Świat” TVN24 magazine, that he would like to see budget transfers introduced to increase the financing of the program. So that beneficiaries can use more hours this year.

– This happened in previous years. I would like it to be like that now, he emphasized.

There is a presidential bill

The President's bill, which has been in development for years, has just landed on the desk of the Speaker of the Sejm, which is to replace the program with a systemic solution. It assumes from 40 to 200 hours of assistance per month. However, both the social side and the ministry have serious reservations about the project.

The project lacks the possibility of individualizing support. It also prevents assistants from performing medical-related activities.

– There are people who receive parenteral nutrition or other forms of support, such as ventilators. The assistant cannot say: I am only there to wash, change and leave – said Bogumiła Siedlecka-Goślińska from the Avalon Foundation on TVN24.

They want to cooperate with the president's office

Meanwhile, Łukasz Krasoń announced that he is trying to cooperate with the president's office to develop common solutions. However, it may be necessary to create a government version of the bill.

– I met with representatives of the president's office to check to what extent we are able to find common elements and move this – highly insufficient – project into a form that we would be able to accept, he said.

Main photo source: TVN24



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