The 2024 Budget is not only a roadmap for further prosperity but also a beacon of hope for a more inclusive future.
As a disabled young woman, I can’t help but applaud the noteworthy initiatives for people with disabilities outlined in the Budget Speech. These measures are a reflection of the Government’s progressive values, and they represent a significant step forward for people with disabilities in Malta.
One of the most commendable Budget measures is the increase in severe disability assistance. This boost of €12.81 per week will undoubtedly make a substantial difference in the lives of many disabled individuals. It’s not just about the financial relief; it’s also about official acknowledgment of the extra challenges that we disabled individuals often face. This increment demonstrates a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for those who depend on this support.
What truly deserves appreciation is the increased severe disability assistance rate which, back in 2017, was reformed to align with the minimum wage. This progressive step ensures that disabled individuals are not left behind in the ever-changing economic landscape. With an increase of €17.36 per week, this Budget recognises that people with disabilities deserve a standard of living that is not just acceptable but dignified.
The allocation of €5.2 million to improve the personal assistance services provided by Aġenzija Support is another remarkable leap forward. This investment signifies a significant stride towards ensuring that disabled individuals can lead an independent life. It acknowledges the importance of personal assistance services in breaking down barriers and empowering disabled individuals to actively participate in society.
Personal assistance services play an indispensable role in the lives of many disabled individuals. These services provide us with the necessary support and tools to live life on our terms. By enhancing these services, the administration is not only investing in the welfare of the disabled. It is also acknowledging that our lives matter and that our contributions to society are valuable. It is a clear statement that the potential within the disabled community is being recognised.
This investment will not only increase the accessibility of services but will also create new opportunities for disabled individuals to pursue their ambitions and passions. It will open doors to employment, education, and social inclusion, ultimately leading to a more inclusive society.
Empathy underpinning policy
From a disabled person’s perspective, the 2024 Budget is more than just numbers and policies; it is a testament to the country’s social conscience. It reflects a commitment to creating a society where disability is not a hindrance but an integral part of the diverse tapestry that is Malta. This Budget shows that the Government is listening to the voices of disabled individuals and taking concrete steps to address their unique needs and challenges.
Malta’s 2024 Budget provides a hopeful blueprint for how other countries can also create positive change for people with disabilities. Its empathetic and progressive approach could inspire other nations to prioritise the rights and well-being of disabled individuals, in so doing contributing to creating a world where everyone feels valued.
Photo credit: Marcus Aurelius