“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
Some of the most vulnerable are persons with disabilities who struggle to complete daily tasks that most take for granted. The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) provides support to persons living with disabilities by offering several services that are specific to them.
Government Assistance for the Disabled
- The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) provides in-patient medical rehabilitation services from the physiotherapy departments at all hospitals. The MOHW also provides free counselling and free out-patient physiotherapy services at selected rehabilitation centres.
- The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) disburses funds that benefit families of disabled children through the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH). The MLSS also has, under its umbrella, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) which offers a wide range of services for certified disabled persons.
- These services include, providing mobility devices, such as walkers and crutches through their Assistive Aid Grants Programme, skills training and job placement, as well as issuing vehicle tags to allow access to parking in designated spots and scholarships to students with disabilities for tertiary level education. Additionally, the JCPD also works alongside other local private groups which aid disabled persons, such as the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB) and the Jamaican Association for the Deaf (JAD).
- The Island Traffic Authority of Jamaica (ITA) assists persons with disabilities, including the hearing impaired, with testing and certification in order to operate motor vehicles adapted to meet their needs.
- The Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY) has a special education unit which supervises all special education schools and centres islandwide that are either Government-owned or Government-aided and are given special grants. Disabled students in the regular school system also benefit from the school’s facilities being wheelchair accessible.
The GOJ has also mandated that disabled persons be registered to obtain a certificate which facilitates access to additional benefits outlined below:
- Concessionary bus fares in the Kingston Metropolitan Area and St. Catherine.
- Tax exemptions under the Income Tax Act.
- Reserved housing (serviced lots/units) in National Housing Trust (NHT) scheme developments. Effective July 1, 2022, NHT will offer a $300,000 Disability Grant Benefit increased from $150,000. Under the programme NHT mortgagors with disabilities or who live with or care for a family member with disabilities can access the grant which can be used to upgrade homes, as well as access to a lower interest rate on loans.
- Invalidity Benefit for National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributors who were previously employed but have become incapable of working due to physical or mental illness.
Additionally, construction of all public or commercial premises should be accessible to and usable by physically challenged persons and be built in accordance with the National Building Code. Minimum access requirements include ramps, continuous handrails or grab bars, elevators where necessary, as well as designated parking spaces.
For additional information, contact:
Ministry of Labour and Security
1F North Street, Kingston
Social Security Division
14 National Heroes Circle, Kingston 4
Toll Free: 888-991-2089
Ministry of Health and Wellness
10-16 Grenada Way
The Ministry of Education and Youth
Special Education Unit
37 Arnold Road
The National Insurance Scheme
18 Ripon Road
The National Housing Trust
4 Park Boulevard
The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities
18 Ripon Road
The Jamaica Association of the Deaf
The Jamaica Society for the Blind
111 Half Old Hope Road
Tel: 876-927-6757 or 876-927-6759