Disability Benefits in Belgium
Understand what financial aid is available to people with disabilities through the state-funded welfare system...
The Social Assistance system is responsible for benefits for people with disabilities. Consult the Social Assistance Centre (CPAS/OMCW) in your municipality for more information and to apply.
Help and support is provided for parents from birth (or even before) where there is at least a 30 percent reduction in physical capability or a 20 percent reduction in mental ability. The Medical Social Worker (travailleur medico-social, TMS) who is looking after the family can advise on benefits and how to claim them. Essentially the parents of disabled children receive an allowance which is in line with their age and level of disability. More money is paid if the child is at least two-thirds disabled. The benefit is paid until age 21. At this point the benefit is transferred to the disabled person themselves in the form of an income replacement benefit. An additional payment called an integration allowance is payable if, following medical examination, it is proved that independence is restricted, for example mobility, feeding and generally looking after oneself.
Payment of benefits (unless the amount awarded is very small) is made monthly. The first payment is made in the month following the decision to pay benefit and payment is made around the twenty-third of each month. Any backdated amount is paid as a lump sum with the first payment. Payment is by bank transfer either direct to the disabled person or their legal representative.
Benefits may be reduced or stopped if the disabled person is hospitalised for a long period or has to leave their own home and go into a specialist care facility. The CPAS/OMCW will advise on specific circumstances.
State help is available to adapt the family vehicle and home if necessary and there are measures in place to assist the blind and the deaf with appropriate study materials. Detailed information can be obtained by consulting the appropriate bodies.
- Coming2Belgium is an online tool to calculate social security entitlements
Children with Disabilities
Parents with disabled children may also apply for help to adapt the family home or car if this is necessary. There is also a range of measures in place to help disabled children at school.
There are also facilities for the deaf or blind to get additional help such as reading materials or other assistance.
- For more information on Special Needs Education, see Schooling & Education
Anyone working in Belgium must join a healthcare scheme and the cover provided then extends to a non-working spouse and any dependant children (including those with disabilities). The amount paid by the employed individual (known as the personal share) is subject to a maximum annual limit calculated in relation to income. Disabled persons who are unable to work are also catered for with their own cover.
For certain types of care it may be necessary to pay the provider and then claim reimbursement from the insurer. The amount reimbursed depends on the type of care, the provider used and the insured's personal status.
For hospital treatment, only the personal share is payable – the balance is collected directly from the insurance fund.
The same applies to any medication obtained from a pharmacy. However, some medication (typically anything which is being taken for a serious or long-term condition) will be free of charge.
A range of other social and monetary allowances are available to the disabled. Some of these are allowed even where a claim for disability benefit itself has been refused (for example where an individual's revenue is deemed too high).
These include parking permits, exemption from TV licence payments, housing benefits, income tax reductions and discounts on utility bills. Depending on individual circumstances a disabled person may qualify for one or more of these benefits. There is also funding for home-help where a disabled person needs assistance of a practical nature to allow them to remain in their own home.
- For full details from the Federal Service for Social Security: Click here (in French, German & Dutch)