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MPs discuss safeguarding welfare cash

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MPs on Tuesday decided to begin drafting legislation ensuring that money currently allocated to the Welfare Lottery Fund continues to be disbursed to disabled persons in the event the fund is scrapped.

The Welfare Lottery Fund was set up to provide additional support to disabled persons but since 1997 the lottery itself is not being issued.

In 2014, the government tabled a bill abolishing the lottery.

In the meantime, the state continued to channel some €136,000 a year into the all-but-defunct fund.
Chairman of the House labour committee Andreas Fakondis said MPs are preparing a bill of their own whereby this amount would continue to be paid into the broader special needs fund even if the lottery were to be abolished.

Beneficiaries of the Welfare Lottery Fund are persons with severe disabilities, war victims and organisations or agencies for exceptional financial needs and programmes aiming to improve the quality of life of the disabled.

The House committee also discussed the quality of care provided to persons suffering from psychiatric disorders and autism.

Following pressure from parents groups, the government has submitted a proposal to the cabinet to create a centre for multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessment for autistic persons up to the age of four.

The centre would be co-financed by the European Social Fund.

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