Blind World Magazine

South Korea.
Allowance for Disabled to Triple.

Korea Times, South Korea.
Monday, September 04, 2006.

The government will increase monthly allowances for disabled people up to three times the maximum limit as part of its efforts to boost the welfare of handicapped people.

Nine ministries including the Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday announced comprehensive measures to support disabled people.

``To help handicapped people secure basic needs from next year, the government will increase the monthly allowance for severely handicapped people below poverty line from 70,000 won to 130,000 won, and that of handicapped children from 70,000 won to 200,000 won,'' Prime Minister Han Myung-sook said.

According to the measure, severely handicapped people who live just above the poverty line will receive a monthly allowance of 120,000 won while 150,000 won will be paid to severely handicapped children every month.

>From 2010, the disabled are expected to receive free compulsory education from preschool to high school. Currently they receive the benefit only from elementary school to junior high school, which is the same for children without disabilities.

Furthermore, higher educational institutions like colleges will be equipped with various facilities to help disabled students study and do other school activities without trouble. For example, special chairs for disabled students in the classroom and supplementary study facilities designed for visually-impaired and hearing-impaired students will be provided.

In addition, various legal changes to provide the disabled with lifelong education services were suggested in the recent revised bill. According to the plan, the disabled-oriented night schools, mainly for adults who missed education opportunities, will be allowed to receive aid from respective local government authorities from next year.

In order to establish sufficient infrastructure of medical service for handicapped people, the government will increase the number of specially designed sickbeds at the National Rehabilitation Center by 100 to 300 in 2007.

By 2008, the government will develop a special bus model for use by disabled people. The number of such buses will account for 50 percent of total city buses by 2013.

Every subway station will be equipped with facilities for the convenience of the handicapped by 2008, including an increased number of elevators for disabled people.

>From next year, the government will also hire helpers who can assist 13,365 disabled people from low-income brackets when they go out for walk or go traveling.

``For the severely handicapped people who have difficulty going outside, starting next year we will provide assistance service so that they can smoothly lead their everyday lives as well as engage in various social activities,'' said Kim Kang-lip, an official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

To narrow the information gap between handicapped and non-handicapped, the percentage of television programs with subtitles for the deaf, which currently stands at 56 percent, will be increased to 70 percent by late this year.

About 1.5 trillion won will be spent to carry out the policies for four years from 2007.

End of article.

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