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Disabled question age bar on aid
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 12 - 2013

Suad Al-Shamrani
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — As the Kingdom marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday, a number of disabled people in the country are asking why the authorities are depriving them of aid after the age of 45 years.
They said the Saudi government provides all necessary services and financial support to the disabled but the Ministry of Social Affairs has enacted regulations that prevented some of them from receiving these benefits.
They complain that once a disabled person lands a job, Social Affairs denies him any aid although his salary may not exceed SR4,000 a month.
Faris Hamdi, a university student, said he is suffering from sickle cell anemia but was surprised to know that his condition is not considered a handicap.
Ali Al-Shalhoub, an employee in a charitable organization, said he receives a salary of SR4,000 a month, which is hardly enough to meet his living expenses. Al-Shalhoub said he was looking forward to getting married and building a family, but with such a salary and no additional income he believes it would be a difficult task.
Mohammad Ali said the disabled receive the same wages, regardless of their families' social condition and status.
Some families are able to provide all the needs of a disabled member while many others cannot.
He said when the disabled get older, they are in more need of financial aid and become more of a burden on their families.
Hend Mejalli said the disabled needs wheelchairs and medical equipment throughout his life, especially after the age of 45. "The amount they receive from social security is only SR700 a month. Is that enough to meet their basic needs and medical expenses?” she asked.

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