Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi Minister of Social Affairs, Abdulmohsen al Akkas, announced last Tuesday that there will be an increase in monetary aid given to families with disabled dependants with 10,000 Saudi Riyals (SR) as a maximum and a minimum of 2,000 SR, according to the type and severity of the disability. The announcement was made following the royal approval to increase benefits for families with disabled dependants, as a result of money allocated to their assistance in the National Budget, which was announced on the 18 December, 2006. The Kingdom has allocated 1 billion SR of the 2007 budget for care and rehabilitation.
The Ministry for Social Welfare has classified the families with disabled dependants into four categories, the first of which is 23A that includes people with the highest degree of disability, for whom the amount of benefit was increased from 8,000 to 10,000 SR. The category of 23B was designated 7,000 SR, an increase from 5,000 SR. Those belonging to the category of 24A had their benefits increased to 5,000 SR, whilst the category 24B, had its benefits raised to 2,000 SR. Families with disabled dependants are subject to annual follow-ups and monitoring by a number of specialized representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs to ensure that maximum care is given to disabled individuals by their families.
In addition to monetary benefits, the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs also provides wheelchairs and assistance for disabled individuals with costs to modify motor vehicles for example from manual to automatic transmission. Al Akkas announced recently that the increase of the amount of money allocated for the ministry’s projects in the 2007 budget will help to expand the numbers of beneficiaries of such projects. He indicated that there has been an increase in the amount of assistance that the ministry is giving to appropriate and deserving people under its care, as it includes social security benefits, pensions and allocations for charities and the national charitable fund, as well as orphans and those with disabilities.
The minister stressed the Saudi government’s keenness to cater to the needs of disabled individuals and their families, and fulfilling their wishes.
The Saudi Arabian government obligates private sector establishments with over 50 employees to allocate 2% of its positions to disabled citizens who are suitable for employment.