From January, disabled people will pay extra for some services, such as personal assistance and care services, shopping, food delivery, and ironing. This is despite protests from disabled people’s organizations.
In the end, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs accommodated only some of them. It made an exception for those who depend on professional help for more than 80 hours a month. Most of their rates will remain at the current level.
This was announced by the ministry, which approved the new reimbursement decree. For example, personal assistance will be paid at CZK 155 per hour instead of the current CZK 135 unless it is provided for more than 80 hours per month.
As with assistance, the price for help with, for example, dressing, personal hygiene, transfers to and from a wheelchair or serving meals, routine cleaning, shopping, and errands will increase to the 80-hour limit. The price of a full-day meal, i.e., three meals a day, will rise from CZK 205 to CZK 235, and the cost of lunch from CZK 95 to CZK 105.
For the care service, the rate for importing or delivering food will increase from 40 to 50 crowns; the rate for washing and ironing a kilogram of laundry will increase from 80 to 90 peaks; and the rate for buying food, clothing, or household equipment will increase from 140 to 160 crowns.
The provision of accommodation, including related services such as cleaning, is to increase from CZK 250 to CZK 280 per day. In shelters or halfway houses, the amount will be lower. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the increase is necessary mainly given the price rise. The total cost of the social services sector has risen from CZK 49 billion in 2019 to more than CZK 80 billion.
“It is not always the case that the amount of reimbursement from clients will reach the maximum rate. It is an option, not an obligation. “In our experience, social service providers also consider the individual possibilities of clients,” said Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL).
Embarrassment over the calculation
The authority initially wanted to raise the rates across the board for everyone. Representatives of the disabled criticized this. They said the care allowance should be introduced first. Otherwise, some disabled people will not be able to pay.
However, they are not satisfied with the final wording of the decree either. “We understand that the providers do not have enough money to provide a sufficient number of services because the price has not been increased for a long time. But we’re not sure how it will be counted. It may also happen that a person’s situation worsens. They need services from more providers and pay a higher amount,” said Václav Krása of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities of the Czech Republic.
According to Jakub Augusta from the ministry’s press department, the calculation will be simple. “If a person uses less than 80 hours of care, they can be charged the highest possible reimbursement of CZK 155 per hour. If he orders more than these 80 hours, he can pay for each of them no more than the current maximum, i.e., 135 crowns per hour. “Within a single provider, the hours of care will be cumulative,” Augusta said.
Social service providers are happy with the compromise. They were even the ones who proposed its basic form, although the limit was set at 100 hours per month for them. “We knew that the increase would hit service users, but also some providers whose target group needs care for a hundred or more hours a month,” said Jiří Horecký, president of the Association of Social Service Providers of the Czech Republic.