Law offers state aid to weakest people in society

24th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 April 2006, MADRID — More than a million people who are unable to care for themselves could be eligible for financial aid and state services under a new draft law.

24 April 2006

MADRID — More than a million people who are unable to care for themselves could be eligible for financial aid and state services under a new draft law.

The bill - known as the Dependency Law - is expected to pass with the support from the Socialists and opposition conservative Popular Party.

It is being touted as the 'fourth pillar' of the welfare state, along with Spain's national health care, education and pension systems.

Labour minister Jesus Caldera said that once the bill is passed by Parliament anyone who cares for a disabled person will be able to request an evaluation of the individual's condition to determine the amount of assistance needed.

Caldera added that the future law will lead to the creation of some 300,000 direct and several hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.

Between 2007 and 2015, the period of time established to gradually implement the assistance programme for 'dependent people', the national government will cover some EUR 13 billion  of the cost and the Spanish regions and autonomous communities will pay a similar amount.

Beneficiaries of care will also pay a portion of the cost of their care, up to an amount that will not exceed 30 percent of the price of the services received.

An estimated 1.1 million people in Spain are considered unable to carry out basic activities such as feeding, bathing or clothing themselves, and this figure is expected to reach 1.5 million in 15 years.

The Dependency Law is especially aimed to help people who are over the age of 65 or those with disabilities, including small children.

Implementation of the law is one of the main goals of Zapatero's administration, which has made social policy a top priority.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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