Campaigns and activities
In Estonia, there are three main systems for habilitation and rehabilitation: health system, social insurance system and via labour market services. There are general laws covering all people with disability, main criteria are degree of disability and age. No special laws for blind/visually impaired.
Social Welfare Act
Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act
Since 2016 Work ability reforms in Estonia
Labor Market Benefits and Services Act
and give links to further information for:
General policy described in Health Insurance Act
Support services provided by local authorities and state – Education Counselling Centres Rajaleidja in co-operation with two centers specialised on supporting the children and young with blindness /low vision. Supportive measures are described by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and Innovation.
Significant changes have taken place in this area since mid 2016. Working aged people can get services via labor market system as vocational rehabilitation services.
Children with blindness /visual impairment under 16 years, also blind/visually impaired over 65 years and working-age blind/visually impaired with no work ability are entitled to get rehabilitation services via social insurance system.
Yes for blind and partially sighted people. For work – through labor market services, for children and old-age pension-aged and with no work ability via social insurance system. See welfare act and work ability reforms
yes, mainly, for both blind and partially sighted people.
yes, to all, for both blind and partially sighted people.
The importance of that kind of assessment is recognized in general terms, the person may get the assessment while applying for services or allowances. The procedure is described in Social Welfare Act. However, in practice the primary assessment of rehabilitation needs may be carried out just by a case manager deciding whether the person needs the assessment by multidisciplinary team or not.
not really, only by temporary projects
yes, first steps in the form of peer counselling
yes, first steps in the form of peer counselling
Limited resources, available in case the services are recommended in the rehabilitation plan or in case a project based funding.
The participation of those organisations has improved and the importance of it has been more recognized in recent years, however it may be just formal and the suggestions made may not get enough attention in reality. The services have been worked out by officials and specialists of the field.
Yes, there are, same for both groups.
Services covered by social insurance system are provided by the special education teacher for blind/visually impaired, physiotherapist, social worker, occupational therapist, psychologist, speech therapist. Local (county) authorities can provide special transportation, individual assistant and support person services.
All persons with disabilities have the right to apply for rehabilitation services. After submitting the application, it is decided by a case manager whether or what kinds of services the person needs. The need of services provided by local government is assessed by local authorities after applying for those.
Above-mentioned rehabilitation services are provided by officially recognized rehabilitation centres which may be from public, private or NGO sector.
The situation is better in bigger places. Rehabilitation centres specialised in the field of blindness and low vision are only in two bigger cities in Tallinn and Tartu.
If the need for services is officially determined, the services provided by the rehabilitation centres are free for certain amount. For local services (personal assistant, special transport) a certain percentage is covered by persons with disability.
Yes, they are but in reality the situation is different – better for children, worse for elderly who may be not enough active for applying for the services they may need. The need for services for partially sighted may be not recognized at the same extent as for totally blind persons.
It is described in Social Welfare Act, the information is shared mainly by the organisations of disabled persons and rehabilitation centres and by the hospitals and GPs, and by the firms or organisations selling special aids and equipment.
The training may be provided as a part of special education service or by the organisations of blind/visually impaired, mainly project based.
It is determined whether by a rehabilitation team indicating the need in one’s rehabilitation plan, or by an eye doctor or GP in written form. There will be a change and also physiotherapists and occupational therapists can determine the need since next year.
Aids and special equipment are free for working age blind/visually impaired for adapting their work place, costs are covered by labor market service providers. Special aids for personal use applied via social insurance system are not totally free. Children get those paying 10% of the cost but a special mean tested reduction is also possible to apply. Adults can get special aids with reduced prices as well and they can also apply for getting means tested additional reduction. All special aids are available only if their need is identified by GP or eye doctor or by the rehabilitation team.
No information. However, considering the high cost of several aids, it may be the case.
The choice of equipment is listed in a legal document and only those aids in the list are available.
There are special requirements for rehabilitation workers/professionals of rehabilitation centres. The general requirement is a Master degree in the field, except peer support service providers who have to pass special training courses on it and higher education is not required for them. The requirements for local service providers are described by local authorities and may differ.
Higher education (university) and post-graduate curricula, in addition special trainings. Yes, it emphasises individual needs.
For rehabilitation professionals specialized in the field of blindness/low vision, in-service training is a part of their requirements.
Yes. The Estonian Federation of the Blind is an umbrella organisation with member organisations of blind/visually impaired.
The person should have visual impairment (vision acuity less than 0.3) or disability due to vision loss or reduced vision.
There is more flexibility in practice.
Yes. Services are mainly provided by social insurance system or labor market system by officially recognized rehabilitation centres or by local governments.
Our organization has been in partnership.
yes, as a member of Estonian Council of Disabled Persons
yes, as a partner in working groups
Our organisation is not a direct service provider
Lobbying, cooperating with rehabilitation centres, service providers, other NGOs, participating in working groups.
Via our organisation’s website, a journal Valguse Kaja (Sound of Light) twice a year, trainings and information days etc.
Via local organisations
Yes, it is helpful.
Good practices from other EU countries.
The situation has changed. It may be said that the situation is better for working-aged persons with disabilities who can get more services via labor market if they are entitled for those. For children the situation has improved as well as there are additional resources available. However, the queues for rehabilitation services for adults via social insurance system are quite long. The special services and special aids are not available for all who may need those and when they need them.
Yes, it is never ending process as with the recent change in whole system, people are quite confused and not familiar how to apply for services and for special aids.