New website to help disabled people plan care budgets

Summary

While people with a disability can take advantage of a personalised package of benefits from the government, many don’t know where to start

Finding each other

Flemish health and welfare minister Jo Vandeurzen is providing €100,000 a year to an online platform that will bring together all manner of help and care organisations for people with disabilities. The platform is currently under development.

In 2017, Flanders reformed its benefits system for people with mental or physical disabilities, increasing recipients’ independence to make their own choices. A Persoonsvolgend Budget (PVB) is paid out to people with recognised disabilities, and each person decides how to spend it – whether on fees to live in an institution, for home help, to reimburse family members for mobility or food costs or any other expenses related to assistance.

Everyone with a disability in Flanders receives a basic benefit of €300 a month, distributed by the Flemish Agency for People with a Handicap (VAPH), but can apply for more by working out an individualised care plan. The new website will bring together service providers that will make that process much easier.

‘Direct contact’

“Care experts have reported that the roll-out of the PVB has necessitated a platform where those in need of help and those who provide care services can find each other,” says Vandeurzen. “Those in need of assistance can make direct contact with those providing it through the platform.”

The website will provide a broad database of services, including home health care providers, volunteer organisations, family support agencies and cleaning services. Users will be able to better assess their needs and the costs involved in order to create – together with VAPH – a personalised care budget. Users can also place their care needs on the website for care providers to find.

“The platform will provide a wide range of information focused on options for help, support and care for people with a disability,” says Vandeurzen. “This fits in with the PVB programme perfectly, which puts the choice of care directly with the individual.”

Photo: Martine Doucet/GETTY