18:48 / 07.06.2023.

Author: Katja Miličić

Croatia to pass law regulating assistance for people with disabilities



Foto: Izvor: / Shutterstock

The Government has drafted a bill that would for the first time regulate the assistance provided to people with disabilities in Croatia.

Among its key provisions, the bill would extend the status of caretaker to parents of children with severe autism. It also resolves a point of contention under current rules by extending the benefits of caretaker parents for 10 months after the death of their child. Furthermore, the bill would raise financial assistance for caretaker parents and their disabled children.

Under the bill, all of these benefits would cover a larger number of people, around 15 thousand in total.

The Deputy Ombudswoman for People with Disabilities, Mira Pekeč Knežević, underscored the importance of regulating the status personal assistants to persons with disabilities.

"This will regulate the employment status of personal assistants. We think this is a very good starting point and a huge step forward from where we are now,” said Pekeč Knežević.

The Prime Minister said the bill was drafted under the guiding principles of solidarity and inclusivity. However, some parents are unhappy with the proposal.

"I think these proposals are quite significant in the legal and financial sense. The also show that Croatia highly values the principles of solidarity and inclusivity in its society,” said Plenković.

Marica Mikulić, who represents a group of parents of children with disabilities, disagrees.

"This bill is neither inclusive or a show of solidarity. All persons with disabilities are asking for services that will help them with inclusion rather than more financial assistance, which is what they keep offering us," Mikulić said.

Mikulić describes the financial assistance part of the proposal as a Catch-22 because once money is offered and taken, the door to other services closes.

The Government will set aside 167 million euros in 2024 to finance the benefits and services outlined in the law.

The bill has been sent to the Sabor.

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