PROTECTION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND THEIR FAMILIES - HANDBOOK 8

People with disabilities have a variety of needs both when their parents are still alive and after they are gone. Public services can still cover some of those needs, however, budget tightening due to the economic and financial crisis might lead to further cuts in public spending on welfare services including those for people who are not self-sufficient, in the coming years.

Financial market turbulence adds to the worries of families and organizations providing support to people with disabilities with a growing number of families being no longer confident about the possibility of building ‘on their own’ a nest egg to provide for their offspring after they are gone. These families are faced with a dual challenge: dwindling public resources for services supporting their loved ones and growing uncertainty about their ability to build a nest egg for their offspring. Without questioning the central role of the state in providing services for people with disabilities, it is apparent there is a growing need for novel solutions that socialize risk.

The paper gives a fresh contribution to the debate on the matter, starting from the analysis of current and prospective needs (gap analysis) of people with disabilities gathered also via meetings with them and their families, and arguing that those needs could be satisfied both while parents are living and after they are gone, through private insurance. Next, the authors move on to present possible insurance covers that would fit around the needs of these people with related number crunching. The authors also mention other actions that would be helpful, such as getting more statistical data about the life expectancy of people with disabilities, promoting mechanisms to encourage supply that matches the specific demand for insurance in this population group. Finally, the authors present some ideas for possible future legislation, public intervention or favorable tax treatment which organizations representing people with disabilities could promote with the support of Fondazione Cariplo and ANIA (Association of Italian Insurers).

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