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Gezinsbond launches petition against long waiting lists for persons with disabilities

The Belgian League of Families in Flanders, Gezinsbond, finds that caring families have waited long enough and has launched a petition against the long waiting lists to access support.

In principle, all persons with disabilities are entitled to a budget to organise their own care and support (de persoonsvolgende financiering – PVF). But this system has not changed much and so far the long waiting lists are still there. This puts enormous pressure on family and informal carers: they are obliged to take up the care themselves in anticipation of a budget or to compensate for shortages in the care itself if the budget is too tight. Gezinsbond supports these families who have waited long enough and the petition aims to draw attention to the realities of families on the waiting lists. After the Belgian federal elections, the signatures will be handed over to the new Minister of Welfare with the call to urgently work on providing financial support to families, with an end to waiting lists.

Families do not find new funding a revolution

Since 2017, a new financial regulation for persons with disabilities has been in place: the so-called ‘Persoonsvolgende Financiering’ (PVF). The government wants to ensure that every person with a disability can choose the care that suits his/her situation and his/her family. But caring families experience many problems with the PVF in practice.

“For families, the new funding is a kick in the teeth. People with disabilities and their families no longer wait for services or a place in a facility, but are now waiting for a budget. This budget is often tight and assumes that informal carers themselves will compensate for shortages in care and support. And so caring families still have no care guarantee, neither today nor in the future,” says Elke Valgaeren of Gezinsbond.

Hilde Michiels: “Those waiting lists, that’s what makes me so angry”.

One story which went viral in Flanders is the story of David and Hilde. David’s mother – Hilde Michiels – is sounded the alarm bell. David is twenty-three and has a disability. He can go to school for two more years in special education, but after that he has to find a solution: “There is no place for him in this society, no shelter or meaningful day care. However, people with disabilities are equal. This is also laid down in international treaties, namely the UNCRPD. It is therefore unacceptable that they should be dependent on charity. Meanwhile, thousands of people are on a waiting list for a budget, without any perspective, and that makes me so angry. Nobody can tell us when we will get a budget for David”. See the full story here.

Petition against the long waiting lists: www.genoeggewacht.be

“The government must adapt the PVF’s system in order to give every person with an identified need for care a budget with which s/he can organise his/her own care and support tailored to the family. This requires more resources and budgets must be allocated and paid within a reasonable period of time. Only in this way will the PVF’s system meet the needs of caring families and will the waiting lists come to an end”, concludes Elke Valgaeren of Gezinsbond.

If you or organisation identifies with this campaign, please sign the petition and share it widely!