Services with subjective right

A person with a disability has a subjective right to particular services and support measures based on the Disability Services Act if the person meets the criteria for granting the services. The criteria are defined separately for each service. The subjective right means that if the person with a disability meets the conditions specified for being granted the service, the wellbeing services county has the obligation to organise the services whether or not the county has allocated appropriations for it. 

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Personal assistance  

A person with a disability has the right to personal assistance when they need help from another person necessarily or repeatedly in order to manage in daily matters, work and studies, leisure activities, participation in public activities and maintaining social relations. 

Personal assistance means necessary assistance for a person with severe disability at home and outside of the home. A personal assistant helps the person with a disability in the tasks that the person would do without help if there were no disability. The assistance can take various forms, depending on the person assisted. It can be related to eating, washing, toilet visits, dressing, household chores, running errands, studying, working or participating in public activities. Thus, personal assisting does not mean cleaning service or home nursing, for example. 

For leisure time activities, participation in public activities, and maintaining social interaction, the wellbeing services county has to arrange personal assistance for a minimum of 30 hours per month. The prerequisite for personal assistance is that the person with a severe disability has the resources to define the content and the way of performance of the assistance. This means that the person with a disability has to express what kind of assistance they need. However, the person does not have to do this alone. For instance, family members can be asked to help.  

Family members or others close to the person in need of assistance can be their personal assistants only if it is in the best interest of the person with a disability and for a particularly weighty reason. 

Personal assistance is free of charge for the person assisted. There are various ways of organising personal assistance: 

Employer model: The wellbeing services county reimburses the expenses of employing a personal assistant to a person with a severe disability. This includes other reasonable and necessary expenses caused by the assistant. 

Services voucher: The wellbeing services county gives a voucher for a reasonable amount of services to a person with a severe disability for assistance services. 

The wellbeing services county’s own activity or outsourced service: The county procures assistance services for a person with a severe disability from a public or private service provider, or it organises the service on its own or in agreement with one or more other municipalities. 

Transportation services

Transportation services are an essential service supporting persons with severe disabilities to live independently. School, work and leisure time activities require the possibility to move. Transportation services ensure that persons with the most severe disabilities have reasonable possibilities to travel at the same cost as other people. 

The wellbeing services county organises transportation service for persons who are not able to use public transportation independently because of illness, disability or other equivalent reason that decreases functioning. The service can be granted for running errands or other needs belonging to everyday life. Mobility support can be arranged in the form of guidance in the use of public transportation and guided training, travel assistance service, group transportation, reimbursing reasonable expenses of transportation by taxi or disabled taxi, or other equivalent transport means or other suitable way.

The wellbeing services county has to arrange reasonable transportation services and travel assistance services connected with them to a person with a severe disability. Transportation services mean transportation within the home county of the person or to neighbouring municipalities. Transportation to work and place of study are reimbursed altogether. In addition, the municipality has to grant a minimum of 18 one-way trips per month for running errands and leisure time activities. The maximum fee charged the person can be the amount corresponding to the public transport fee or other comparable reasonable fee. The travel assistance service is free of charge. A person with a severe disability can also be granted personal assistance for moving. 

A person receiving special care based on the Act on Special Care for People with Intellectual Disabilities has the right to get without charge the transportation needed to receive special care services. 

The wellbeing services county has the discretion to reimburse expenses for car alterations that are necessary because of the person’s disability. For example, reimbursable expenses can be for installing a hand control device, a wheelchair hoist or motor, and an indoor heater.  

Service accommodation 

For the service accommodation, a person is considered severely disabled if, due to disability or illness, they need another person’s assistance in daily activities continuously, at certain times during the day, or otherwise more than average. In addition, a prerequisite is that the person needs the service accommodation in order to manage in ordinary activities of life. As part of the decision for service accommodation, the person has the subjective right to services that are included in the service accommodation. 

Service accommodation includes an apartment that can be the person’s own apartment, an apartment in service housing, or group housing. 

In addition, necessary services that support managing in housing and everyday life are included in service accommodation, for instance taking care of clothing, cleaning and medication. 

Service accommodation can be organised in many ways, for instance with personal assistance, informal care support, home alterations and safety telephone arrangements. Usually, service accommodation is organised by combining different services and support measures. Service accommodation is based on a person’s personal service plan and is free of charge, but a maintenance fee is charged.

Home alterations and equipment and devices

The wellbeing services county has to reimburse a person with a severe disability for reasonable expenses for home alterations and for equipment and devices that firmly belong to the apartment. The reimbursement is granted if the alterations and purchases are necessary in order to manage in activities of daily living. 

The necessity of home alterations is based on the individual needs of the person with a severe disability. For instance, the person must have the possibility to move in the apartment independently and use its premises that permit a person’s independent managing at home. For example, reimbursable alterations can be for enlarging doors, building ramps, making the bathroom accessible, changing the lighting and increasing contrast.

Reimbursable equipment and devices can be for instance a person lift and alarm devices. Removing obstacles in the immediate proximity of the apartment (such as the yard) are part of home alterations. 

Day activity services 

Day activity services aim to promote participation and the possibilities in finding employment of persons with disabilities. Day activity services are organised for instance in activity centres that may also organise work activities. Day activity services are activities organised outside the home that support managing in an independent life and in social interaction. The service can include making food, physical exercise, discussions, trekking and creative activities. 

Work activities and job coaching 

Day activities are favourably organised flexibly, based on the individual needs of the person with a disability. In some cases, participating in day activities in the first place can help the person with disabilities to move on to a less supported activity. It is important to set goals together with the person with disabilities and support and follow their realisation. This is how a person can move flexibly from day activities to work activities, from work activities to services promoting access to employment, and from there for instance to job coaching and the open labour market.

Work activities can be organised either in a group or as an individual service. They can be organised in work and activity centres or in any other suitable place. Community employment activities in an ordinary workplace can be part of work activities. Salary is not received from work activities because it is a social service. However, participants can receive incentive pay.

If a special care programme for persons with intellectual disabilities (EHO) is prepared for a person, they have the subjective right to work activities. In other cases, work activities is a service bound to appropriations.

Based on the Act on Special Care for People with Intellectual Disabilities, it is also possible to be granted job coaching, which is an important service supporting employment. Sometimes job coaching is organised as a very long or even permanent service if employment and staying employed requires it due to the support needed because of a disability.

Services included in EHO 

If a special care programme for persons with intellectual disabilities (EHO) is prepared for a person with a disability, the person has the subjective right to all the services that are written in the decision. Services and support measures are organised based on the individual needs and wishes of the client. The services can include service accommodation, health care, transportation services, day and work activities, rehabilitation, arranging assistive devices and guidance for persons who are close to the client.