On December 24 and 27, 2018 two decrees were passed in France which became effective on January 1, 2019 to “improve daily life for disabled individuals and their loved ones” by a “firm policy to simplify the paperwork”.

Thus since January 1, 2019 any adults who have been officially recognized as being disabled may retain this qualification and forthcoming eligibility for subsidies throughout life thanks to these simplified procedures: including priority in queues, parking, and transport. For disabled children the subsidies for education may now be granted until the individual reaches age 20.

On October 25, 2018, the Interministerial Committee for the Disabled agreed that disabled persons whose condition will not improve would receive life-long benefits, as well as for children up to age 20. Sophie Cluzel, the National Secretary for the Disabled lamented: “We have to stop asking French citizens to prove their disability 10 different times in life. This will significantly alter the process of continually providing proof (…) which previously resulted in mistrust.” This policy will also simplify the work for the 5000 professionals employed in the regional houses for disabled persons.

Prior to these 2 new decrees, the disabled person had to file a form to renew subsidies an average of 9 or 10 times throughout life; and for a child it had to be done every 12 to 18 months.  Usually the first request was answered to after 1 to 20 years, depending on the multidisciplinary team’s opinion. Previously some proposals had been made to increase the time-frame for renewals, individuals still had to prove their disability on a regular basis. Out of the 4.5 million requests registered in regional offices in 2017 (an increase of 4.1% from 2016), half were renewals, with an average of a 4-month wait before receiving an answer.

Cyprien, Alliance VITA member who has been blind since he was born, speaks out:

“This is really good news which will simplify our life! Before I reached age 20, my parents had to fill out numerous administrative forms every 3 years, and also provide a medical certificate from the ophthalmologist to prove that I was still blind!”