LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted on Tuesday a law that guarantees job stability for workers with serious disabilities and establishes a monthly payment of $36 for those who are no longer able to work.
Morales signed the new statute during a ceremony at Government Palace in La Paz attended by the nation’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, together with ministers, ruling party lawmakers and representatives of disabled persons.
In his address, the president said “it is a joy for me to enact this law” for the disabled, adding that the payment of $36 a month will be financed by municipal governments with the support of the central government.
“This ruling also affects employers: 4 percent of those employed by the public sector and 2 percent employed by the private sector must be disabled men and women,” he said.
According to statistics provided this week by the Health Ministry, up to December 2016 it had registered 67,912 disabled persons.
Of that number, 46,062 had serious or very serious disabilities and are the citizens who will be the beneficiaries of the new job quotas, or of the monthly payments for those unable to work.
To obtain the benefits established by the law, it is necessary to be included in the Sole Disabled Persons Register of the Health Ministry and possess an up-to-date disability card.
Excluded from the monthly payment are people with sight defects registered with the Bolivian Blindness Institute, who already collect aid from the state, but they will be able to benefit from the job quotas, the Health Ministry said.
The monthly municipal payment will take effect starting in 2018, but meanwhile the government will continue the annual solidarity payments of almost $144 to the sector, the ministry said.
In 2016, hundreds of disabled persons were in conflict with the Bolivian government, demanding that the annual payment be substituted by a monthly payment of $72.
The regulation enacted Tuesday was one of the commitments made by the authorities in the sector, but the principal request with regard to the payment was not satisfied because it would have meant the equivalent of a $52 million boost to the budget, an amount the authorities said the government was incapable of sustaining.