The Social Welfare Service Law was amended and renamed the Social Welfare Law in May 2000, and various reviews were made to the social welfare services and current system for the use of social welfare services and common welfare system to meet the nation’s growing and diversifying welfare needs.
As one of the changes under the Basic Structural Reform of Social Welfare in Japan was the change of the service providing system for persons with disabilities. The old system was called “Sochi System” under which the local governments decided the services to provide on behalf of the persons with disabilities. The new system is called “Shien-hi System” under which the users select the services depending on their decision. This new system might be translated into English as “the Fee Support System for Users to Purchase the Services on their Choice.”
The new system respects the rights of persons with disabilities to make their own choices and puts the emphasis on providing services that users require most. Persons with disabilities are put on an equal partner-ship with service providers, and users select what services they want to use and sign a contract for them. Service providers are expected to improve the quality of their services and provide a sufficient range of options.
1. The structure of the new system
(1) Individuals who wish to receive assistance fee to purchase the services can consult, if necessary, with their municipal office about what kind of services are appropriate and submit an application for assistance fee. (2) The municipality reviews the application and notifies the applicant of its decision. (3) Individuals whose application has been approved can begin using services after entering into a contract with a service provider or facility designated by the prefectural governor. (4) The user, or person responsible for his or her support, must pay a portion of the fees incurred for the services, which is decided on the basis of the income. The municipal government pays for what remains after the amount paid for by the user (or the person supporting him or her) is subtracted from the total. The service provider or facility acts as proxy and receives municipal payments directly.
2. Types of services available under the laws
(1) Law for the Welfare of Physically Disabled Persons
- Rehabilitation centers for persons with physical disabilities
- Rehabilitation and care facilities for persons with physical disabilities
- Sheltered workshops for persons with physical disabilities
(limited to government-designated facilities)
- Home-based care and other programs for persons with physical disabilities
- Day services for persons with physical disabilities
- Short stay programs for persons with physical disabilities
(2) Law for the Welfare of Intellectually Disabled Persons
- Rehabilitation centers for persons with intellectual disabilities
- Sheltered workshops for persons with intellectual disabilities
- Dormitories for employees with intellectual disabilities
- Welfare facilities set up by the Welfare Association for Persons with Intellectual and Physical Disabilities
- Home-based care and other programs for persons with intellectual disabilities
- Adult day-care services for persons with intellectual disabilities
- Short stay program for persons with intellectual disabilities
- Group homes for persons with intellectual disabilities
(3) Children’s Welfare Law
- Home-based care and other programs for children with disabilities
- Day services for children with disabilities
- Short stay program for children with intellectual disabilities
- 2. Education System
- 3. Government Measures of Employment and Work
- 4. An Overview of Income Maintenance for Persons with Disabilities
2. Education System
1. Children with disabilities who are unable to reach their full potential with a guidance in a regular classroom setting can receive instruction tailored to their individual needs. Under the Fundamental Education Law, the following options are provided for in addition to special education classes.
(1) School for the blind These schools, which aim to provide children with visual impairments with the necessary knowledge and skills, offer programs at the kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school levels. Prefectural governments are in charge of their establishment. Presently, there are 71 schools for the blind, with 3,882 students. (2) Schools for the deaf These schools, which aim to provide children with hearing impairments with the necessary knowledge and skills, offer programs at the kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school levels. Prefectural governments are in charge of their establishment. Presently, there are 106 schools for the deaf, with 6,705 students. (3) Schools for children with orthopedic, intellectual disabilities and health impairments These schools, which aim to provide children with orthopedic, intellectual disabilities and health impairments with the necessary knowledge and skills, offer programs at the kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school levels. Prefectural governments are in charge of their establishment. At present there are 818 schools for children with disabilities, with 85,886 students.
2. In March 2003 Committee on Special Support Education under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology released a report on the future direction of education for children with special needs based on the fact that the trend for children enrolled at special schools to have more severe, multiple disabilities, and the growing demand for programs that meet the needs of children with learning disabilities (LD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), high-functioning autism at regular schools.
The outline of the report was that a shift be made away from “special education” based on the degree of a student’s disability undertaken in a separate setting to “specially assisted education” or “integrated learning” in an inclusive setting, with the educational needs of individual students taken into account within that structure. At present, reforms are being undertaken in line with the report’s recommendations.
3. Government Measures of Employment and Work
Employment Quota System
The Law for Employment Promotion, etc. of the Disabled Persons mandates that private corporation and national and local public entities hire a certain quota of persons with physical or intellectual disabilities.
Legally stipulated employment quotas (As of July 1, 1998) Private companiesRegular private companies—————1.8% Specialized juridical person—————————–2.1% Central and local government public entities Central and local government bodies———————-2.1% Board of Education in prefectures *———————-2.0% * Prefectural boards of education and other boards of education designated by the minister of health, labor and welfare.
Persons with severe physical disabilities or severe intellectual disabilities are counted as two when calculating the number of persons with disabilities who are employed. Persons with severe disabilities who cannot work full-time are counted as one, a decision made for the purpose of encouraging their employment.
2.Levy and Grant System
In order to alleviate the financial burden incurred by employers who employ persons with disabilities and further raise the employment standard of persons with disabilities, levies are collected from firms with 301 or more employees that have not met the quota. “Adjustment allowance” and incentives are provided to firms that have met the quota or as grants to employers and others who establish or improve work facilities for persons with disabilities or hire job coaches to oversee the employment of persons with severe disabilities.
«Collection of Levies»
Employers with 300 regular workers or less who fail to employ the legally required number of persons with disabilities. *\50,000 per person per month
•Payment of Adjustment Allowance *\27,000 per person per month •Payment of rewards *\21,000 per person per month in excess of a fixed number (equivalent to the accumulative number, in the fiscal year, of 4 % of regular workers per month, or 72 persons, whichever is greater.) •Payment of Grant for Provision of workplace facilities, etc for persons with disabilities Provision of facilities, etc for persons with disabilities Workplace attendants for persons with disabilities Commuting measures for persons with disabilities Provision of facilities, etc. in enterprises employing a large number of persons with disabilities Skill development of persons with disabilities Employment Support Centers for persons with disabilities, etc.
(1) Vocational rehabilitation at Comprehensive Vocational Centers for Persons with Disabilities
There are three types of comprehensive vocational centers for persons with disabilities
1) National Institute of Vocational Rehabilitation (NIVR, ChibaCity) NIVR serves as the core facility for all vocational rehabilitation centers, undertaking a high level of research and development on vocational rehabilitation skills, disseminating the results of research, and training specialists. 2) Large Region vocational centers for persons with disabilities Regional vocational centers work closely with vocational schools for persons with disabilities and medical institutions to provide comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services for a large geographical area.
- National Vocational RehabilitationCenter for Persons with Disabilities ( SaitamaPrefecture)
- National Kibi-Kogen Vocational RehabilitationCenter (OkayamaPrefecture)
- Vocational RehabilitationCenter for Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries (FukuokaPrefecture)
3) Local vocational centers for persons with disabilities Local vocational centers, of which there are one in every prefecture, work closely with Public Employment Security Offices (PESO) to provide specialized and comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services ranging from consultations for persons with disabilities to follow-up at the workplace. They also dispatch job coaches to corporations, provide support to help persons with disabilities adapt to their jobs, and organize programs for hiring persons with disabilities first time on a trial basis.
(2) Vocational and AbilityDevelopmentSchool for Persons with Disabilities
These schools offer training tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities who are not able to partake of vocational training programs organized by public job resource development centers.
4. An Overview of Income Maintenance for Persons with Disabilities
1. Pension Insurance
Pension insurance is a system issuing pension to cover old age and disablement. With the enactment of the National Pension Law in 1959, the entire population of Japan became eligible for coverage, including the self-employed and individuals enrolled in the Employees’ Pension. There are three types of Basic Pensions such as the Old Age Basic Pension, Basic Disability Pension and Basic Pensions.
Payments from Basic Disability Pension vary according to the degree of disability, such as \993,100 per year for grade one disability, and \794,500 for grade two disability (as of 2004 fiscal year). If the persons who receive Basic Disability Pension is also raising a child of under age of 18 years, suffering from severe disability, allowances for this child will be added. This accounts to \228,600 per child per year up to and including the second child, and \76,200 for the third child and thereafter. The aforementioned pension and child addition remain unchanged whether the disability occurred prior to joining or prior to the age of 20 years. In the latter case however, payments are not made when the persons with disabilities reach up to the income above a certain specified level.
3.Allowance for Persons with Disabilities
A Special Allowance for Persons with Disabilities is paid out to those of age of 20 years and over with degrees of disabilities requiring special care and attention in daily life due to serious disability either intellectual or physical. The amount is \26,520 per month. This allowance is not paid to those who are cared at institutions, or whose incomes or whose family incomes exceed a specified amount.
4.Allowance for Children with Disabilities
Welfare Allowance for Children with Disabilities is paid in the case of children with severe physical and psychiatric disabilities of under age of 20 years, a monthly sum of \14,430. There is a system of Special Child Rearing Allowance for raising a child with severe physical or psychiatric disabilities of under age of 20 years. With the exception of children being cared for institutions, \50,900 per month for those with severe disabilities (grade one), and \33,900 per month for those with moderate disabilities (grade two) is paid. And under the System for Benefit for Rearing of Persons with Intellectual and Physical Disabilities, a life annuity is paid to persons with disabilities after their parents or custodian dies, when the parents or custodian made monthly contributions to the program while they were alive. Annuity of 20,000 yen or 40,000 yen is paid depending on the size of the contribution.