The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

Budget 2022: Social measures - List of free medicines to be extended

Stephen Calleja Monday, 11 October 2021, 19:32 Last update: about 4 days ago

• Grant to help elderly people live at home to increase • Bonus to new parents to increase to €400 • Carer at Home benefit will go up from €6,000 to €7,000

The list of free medicines will continue to be extended as from next year.

The list will include oncology treatment for cancer patients, treatment for osteoporosis (20,000 patients), blood circulation medicinals (7,000 patients), psychiatric medicine (5,000 patients, whose stay in hospital will be reduced) and treatment for fibromyalgia (2,600 patients)

It also includes 1,400 patients who suffer from anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction that is potentially life-threatening), with the treatment to also be provided in 325 schools.

There will also be free medicinals for patients who suffer from inflammatory illnesses, rare diseases and IVF patients.

As from next year, all patients 80 years of age or older who receive supplementary assistance (pink form) will automatically be eligible for free medical care. This will be done without the need of means testing. Some 4,500 persons will be eligible.

The grant given to elderly people, 80 years or older, who live in their community or in a private residential home, will have their grant increased by €50 to €400 per year. Some 21,000 elderly persons will benefit from this at a cost of €1 million.

This grant is €300 for elderly people aged 75 or over. Whoever receives the grant given to those not eligible for a contributory pension, but who would have paid some contributions, will get the two grants together.

The bonus given to couples who have a child or adopt one will increase by €100 to €400. Some 4,000 parents will benefit from this.

The allowance for children with a disability will increase by €5 per week for a total of €1,560. Some 1,700 families benefit from this, for a total expenditure of €0.5 million. This is double what these families used to get in 2013 – it has gone up by €13 per week, or €676 per year.

The grant for a carer to help a severely disabled person, introduced last year, will go up from €300 to €500. Some 450 parents benefited from this so far.

People on social assistance will start receiving cost of living adjustment in full. Some 7,000 persons will benefit from this.

The Carer at Home benefit will go up from €6,000 to €7,000, enabling more elderly people to remain at home. Some 750 persons benefit from this, and the additional cost of this measure will be nearly €1 million.

The subsidy rate for the Home Helper of Your Choice will go up from €5.50 an hour to €7, enabling more elderly people to choose their own helper.

Some €11 million have been allocated to make up for past injustices – and these involve port workers, student workers and apprentices who joined the government service after 1979, the former workers of the Gas Board and apprentices of the Malta Electricity Board who joined Enemalta in 1977. The heirs of these people will also benefit from this measure.

Some €10,000 every year will be allotted to each government school so that vulnerable children will be able to receive the basic needs, including food. The money will be used by the heads of school at their discretion. This is being introduced so as to cut down on poverty because no child deserves to go hungry.

Some 1,300 children with a disability will be benefiting from occupational therapy in clinics. All families eligible for such treatment will be receiving vouchers they could use for this purpose.

The government will also be investing in autism units and Braille machines in schools.

Services currently offered to disabled children are planned to be extended beyond their schooling age.

A community hub service will be introduced in the north of Malta, enabling persons with a disability to receive specialised training.

The service provided by psychologists to disabled persons and their families will be extended.

A drive from wheelchair vehicle will be bought to help persons with a disability have access to driving lessons in a bid to help them lead a more independent life.

A specialised CT scan will be installed at the St Vincent de Paul residential home. This is a continuation of the project started last month when a specialised X-ray machine was installed.

These services are open to both residents at the home as well as elderly people in the community.

A garden for people suffering from dementia will be installed at this home.

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