Gov’t to Increase Disabled Payments by NIS 1.8B

YERUSHALAYIM -
Disabled, handicapped and activists block the entrance to Yerushalayim as they attend a protest calling for better health care, in September. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After months of protests, disabled Israelis will be getting the boost in transfer payments they have been demanding. Welfare Minister Chaim Katz on Sunday will propose a new framework for the funding of increased payments for the disabled.

The plan includes an immediate increase in stipends for the disabled, with increases of between NIS 340 and NIS 640 per recipient, depending on their level of disability. Payments will be increased beginning in January 2018, with the average payment for disabled recipients NIS 3,133 per month. The immediate cost to the government for the increased payments will be NIS 1.8 billion. Further increases will be determined by the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee.

In addition to the increase in stipends, disabled Israelis will be able to work and earn up to NIS 4,000 monthly without affecting their government payments. In addition, NS 20 million will be allocated to programs to encourage the disabled to enter the workforce, including providing training courses in various jobs.

The January 2018 increases are the first disabled Israelis will receive as part of a deal that was worked out last month between the government and groups representing the disabled. Under the deal, stipends will be increased over the next four years, with the severely disabled to receive payments of NIS 4,500. Currently they receive NIS 2,342. Individuals with lesser disabilities will receive less. The plan will cost the government a total of NIS 4.2 billion over the next four years. In order to ensure that the plan is enacted, it will be instituted based on a law to be passed by the Knesset. Currently, 880,000 Israelis receive disability payments, and are receiving between NIS 1,405 and NIS 2,342 per month, depending on their degree of disability.