Abstract Paper: LID


Abstract Lithuania

1.           General information

The Council of the European Union designated 2003 the European Year of People with Disabilities. Therefore Lithuanian government was trying to improve the conditions for the disabled by increasing the awareness of the public about disabilities, their prevention, rehabilitation and satisfaction of special needs.

There were 262,9 people with disability in 2001 in Lithuania, ¼ (59 074) of them are physically disabled. In 2002, 31 351 persons were newly registered as disabled. Group I and II prevailed accounting for 74,3 per cent of the total number of the disabled.

The number of people with disability is increasing, and remains a very acute problem in the society.

2.           Legislation

In 2002, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved the National Programme for the Integration of the Disabled into the Society for 2003-2012. The underlying objectives of the Programme is to ensure equal opportunities to all disabled people and their possibilities to avail themselves  to all social resources, i.e., education, new technologies, health care and social services, sports and leisure activates.

In 2002, the State budget approves an allocation of LTL 22,923,000 to the Lithuanian council for the Affairs of the Disabled to implement the programmes of medical and professional rehabilitation and social integration of the disabled.

There are other programmes facilitating the integration of the disabled implemented on the national and municipal level, aimed at development of the infrastructure of social services, provision with technical assistance means, employment programme, professional and social rehabilitation, adaptation of housing and environment, cultural and sports activities.

3.           Structure of authorities

The Council for the affairs of disabled, accountable to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, is a special state institution, which is forming social policy corresponding to the needs of the disabled.

The main sources of funding of the activities for people with disabilities envisaged in the Programme for the Integration of the Disabled into the Society for 2003-2012 are the State budget, State Social Insurance Fund, the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund, Employment Fund, municipal and other resources.

4.           Organizations

The biggest organizations of people with physical disabilities, which are financing mainly by the Council for the affairs of disabled, are: The Lithuanian Association of the Blind and Visually handicapped; The Lithuanian Deaf Society; The Association for the Physically Disabled of Lithuania; The Lithuanian Union for the People with Disabilities; Lithuanian Paralympics committee.

5.           Education

Education forms a part of the Programme for the Integration of the Disabled into the Society for 2003-2012. There are tailoring of the training programmes to the needs of the disabled, adapting of educational methods and forming with due regard to the capacities and needs of the disabled, provision of social services in educational institutions, adaptation of informational and physical environment for the participation of the disabled in the programmes of general education, ensuring the necessary qualification of specialists working with the disabled.

6.           Employment and vocational training

Over half of persons suffering from disability of working age are unemployed. Such situation was determined by a number of objective factors – lack of professional qualifications, loss of links to the labour market or absence of such relations whatsoever, age or the assigned disability group. Among reasons of subjective character are the lack of initiative and motivation to seek employment, inability to objectively assess own status in the labour market.

7.           Accessibility

Since 1998, the Lithuanian Council for the Affairs of the Disabled has been implementing the housing programme. In order to meet the needs of the disabled in this respect every year it is necessary to adapt the housing facilities for over 3.500 disabled persons. Altogether, 24.000 disabled persons need to have the housing facilities entirely or partially adapted for their special needs.

8.           Services

During 2002, social services were provided to 10.832 disabled persons. There are providing community services alternative to the in-patient social services, the functions and responsibilities for the provision of social services are allocating to authorities of different level and to governmental and non-governmental organizations.

9.           Social security benefits

The total number of the disabled persons recipients of the disability pensions in 2002 was 22.577. The persons having the minimal period of the social insurance of the old-age pensions and that are acknowledged by the State Medical Social Expertise Commission as disabled shall have the right to the disability pension. The disability pension of the total amount shall be allocated to the disabled persons having the necessary period of the insurance of the old-age pensions. The size of the necessary period shall be determined on the basis of the age of the person at the time of establishing the disability group.

10.        Health and rehabilitation

In the course of the recent years considerable attention has been devoted the development of a new model of complex integration for the disabled. Training of skills of independents life is the least developed method of rehabilitation of the disabled.