Jamaica News: Executive Director of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), Dr. Christine Hendricks, says there are a range of social services available for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and is appealing for such persons to register with the entity to access those benefits.
The JCPD identifies and maintains a confidential register of PWDs in Jamaica. Registration helps to make planning for and mobilising PWDs more efficient.
A 2011 population census conducted by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) identified over 500,000 persons with various disabilities.
However, Dr. Hendricks told JIS News that only about 33,000 persons have registered with the JCPD to date. She said it is important that the others come forward.
“It is critical that all policymakers, programme planners and service providers think about how to actively plan with and for persons with disabilities to ensure that these 500,000 are considered, planned for, protected and made resilient,” she noted.
“If persons with disabilities are excluded from critical aspects of Jamaica’s developmental planning and implementation, the vision of a developed Jamaica will remain a distant dream,” the Executive Director noted further.
PWDs registered with the Council are provided with a Certificate of Registration, which will enable them to access benefits such as economic empowerment grants to start income-generating projects.
Presently, individuals can access up to $150,000, while groups of persons working together can receive up to $400,000 for their projects.
PWDs can also get help in acquiring assistive aids and devices that can help them to function better in society.
Other benefits include therapy sessions, concessionary bus fares with the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and income tax exemptions in specific cases.
The Council also facilitates persons with disabilities who meet the required criteria to access the five per cent allocation of housing solutions from the National Housing Trust (NHT).
The JCPD provides each client with assessment and independent-living skills. The entity champions the rights of PWDs as advisors to Government and the private sector, as well as the disabilities sector partners, about various issues, particularly in relation to the Disabilities Act.
The Act makes provisions to safeguard and enhance the welfare of persons with disabilities across Jamaica.
For more information on the services of the JCPD, visit: www.jcpdja.com. or call 968-8373, 968-0623 or 926-9374-6.
Source: JIS News