Netherlands - Article 26

(updated 09/01/2018)

Law and Policy

  1. Is there a legal right to habilitation and rehabilitation services in your country? Please describe relevant laws and give links to further information

    The legal rights to habilitation and rehabilitation services for visually impaired persons are included in general laws except the right to special primary and secondary education for blind and partially sighted children who are not capable to participate in the regular school system. For these children the Law on the Expertise Centers (WEC) applies. The relevant general laws are:
    De Zorgverzekeringswet (ZVW; for health care including assistive devices)
    De Wet Langdurige Zorg (WLZ; long standing care e.g. nursing houses, personal budget for long standing care at home)
    De Wet Maatschappelijke Ondersteuning (WMO: for social support at local level e.g transport, housekeeping support)
    De Participatiewet (reducing unemployment of persons with a handicap)
    Different Laws on Education (onderwijswetten). The education is inclusive for children who are able to participate in the regular schoolsystem. The ZVW, the WLZ and the WMO are public-private financed insurances where the private part is much smaller than the public part, Primary and secondary education is free of charge.
    Every citizen is obliged to participate in the ZVW and is charged a fixed amount per month (small differences between insurance organizations) There is an own risk with a maximum of EUR 380 per year. Children under 18 years of age are free of charge, Persons with low income can get a financial compensation from the state depending on the level of income. Persons who make use of the provisions of the WLZ or the WMO have to contribute in the costs depending on her/his financial position. Information about the different laws can be found on the internet by using google.

    • a. Health

      Yes for blind and partially sighted people

    • b. Education

      Yes for blind and partially sighted people

    • c. Employment

      Yes for blind and partially sighted people

    • d. Social Services

      Yes for blind and partially sighted people

  2. Is there a legal right to assistive technology, aids and equipment? (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

    Yes

  3. Do laws on rehabilitation recognise and support participation in all aspects of community life?

    yes

  4. Are there policies on habilitation and rehabilitation services for people who are blind or partially sighted?
    • For children who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    • For adults of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    • For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

      Yes for blind and partially sighted people of all three categories

  5. Do policies recognise the importance of a personalised multidisciplinary assessment of each individual´s needs and circumstances? Please describe the policies and give web links to more information, for people who are: a. Blind persons b. Partially sighted persons

    The laws mentioned above are applied in such a way that personal needs are taken into account

  6. Are there policies on developing peer support for habilitation and rehabilitation?
    • For children (please also include policies on family support) who are (i) Blind (ii) Partially sighted
    • For people of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    • For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

      No; Peer support is not organized by (local) governments; it is mostly organized within the civil society

  7. Are there resources for peer support services?

    No

  8. Do blind and visually impaired people and their organisations fully participate as equal partners in the development of policies and standards for habilitation and rehabilitation services?

    Yes for blind and partially sighted people

Access to Habilitation and Rehabilitation

Support Services

  1. Are there dedicated services for both partially sighted and blind people that meet their distinct needs? Are these habilitation and rehabilitation services focussed on supporting independent living in the community :

    Yes for blind and partially sighted people

  2. What is the full range of services in your country

    all services needed for independent living and improving quality of life for both blind and partially sighted people

  3. How is eligibility determined to access habilitation and rehabilitation services for

    indication by an ophtalmologist for both blind and partially sighted people

  4. Who provides habilitation and rehabilitation services (for example, dedicated blindness and low vision rehabilitation and support centres, hospitals (private and public), NGOs)?

    dedicated centres for both blind and partially sighted people

  5. Are services available locally in all parts of the country?

    Yes

  6. How are services funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)?

    ZVW, WLZ, Ministry of Education

  7. If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported?

    Due to the fact that the ZVW insurance has an own risk of EUR 380 per year (all ZVW services taken into account) it might be that someone is reluctant to go to a service centre.

  8. Are services available for all age groups: children, adults and older people?

    Yes

Access to Equipment and Technologies

  1. The CRPD states that governments should make sure disabled people know about aids, technology and assistive devices and how to use them. How is this done in your country?

    via service providers, societies of vip’s, manufacturers, distributers

  2. What training is provided in the use of equipment and technology?

    training as part of a rehabilitation programme, training provided by societies of vip’s

  3. How is eligibility for equipment, technology and training determined?

    ZVW

  4. How are aids, equipment and technology funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)?

    ZVW

  5. If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported?

    Due to the fact that the ZVW insurance has an own risk of EUR 380 per year (all ZVW services taken into account) it might be that someone is reluctant to go for an aid

  6. Are there any limitations on the choice of equipment? What are these?

    an indication is needed and sometimes the company carrying out the ZVW has some restrictions

Development of the Competence of Professionals

  1. Are there training programmes for rehabilitation professionals? Please describe these (If there is accredited training, the qualifications recognised, where people are trained, to what level etc.)

    The professionals of Royal Dutch Visio Bartiméus and the Robert Coppes Foundation are well trained and they keep their knowledge up to date by following courses, by holding expert group meetings and by using a method book. Visio as well as Bartiméus do have a knowledge and expertise centre and an academy organizing courses, Most professionals are more or less involved in applied and fundamental research

  2. Please describe how rehabilitation professionals are trained. Does training emphasise meeting needs on an individual basis?

    N/A

  3. Does professional training incorporate human rights perspectives?

    Yes, the interventions are client driven

  4. Additional comments on professional training

    N/A

Your Organisation

  1. Does your organisation represent both blind and partially sighted people in your country?

    Yes

  2. What are the conditions for someone with visual impairment to become a member of your organisation or use its services? Please be as specific as possible both for blind and partially sighted people.

    There are no conditions but almost all members are vip

  3. Is this strictly applied, or is there more flexibility in practice?

    See above

  4. Is there another organisation that a person with visual impairment can turn to if they cannot affiliate to your organisation or if you cannot meet their needs? Please give as many details as possible.

    Yes, in The Netherlands we have the Oogvereniging Nederland de Makulavereniging and some very small organisations e.g the Cornea Vereniging en de Vereniging Oog in Oog (persons with an artificial eye). The organisations are working closely together

  5. How is your organisation involved in the implementation of the right to habilitation and rehabilitation support services and programmes for both blind people and people with partial sight? Please give as much detail as possible:

    There is a regular contact between our organisation and the service providers. Apart from this members of organisation are on a personal level active in the client councils of the rehabilitation centres in The Netherlands. Furthermore members of the Oogvereniging participate in foundations for research in the field of rehabilitation and participating in society.

  6. Is there an officer or expert appointed in your organisation to work on partial sight matters? Please describe.

    No. All officers take all matters into account

  7. What actions is your organisation taking to implement the right to rehabilitation services with dedicated, distinct services for blind people and people who have low vision, and to ensure that these services are/will be available in practice? Please give details (examples: lobbying, cooperation with rehabilitation centres, setting up support services, cooperation with universities to develop specific training for rehabilitation experts etc.)

    The policy of our organisation is “design for all” Therefore all activities are of interest for all levels of visually impairment

  8. How does your organisation inform people with visual impairments and the general public about living with blindness and partial sight? (Examples: a website, a national helpline, information stands in hospitals, campaigns, etc.)

    Our organisation has a website, exploits a national helpline (de Ooglijn),organizes stands in hospitals and on fairs and organizes national and local campaigns as well as lobby activities, Members of our organisation participate in national and local working groups on transport and on the implementation of the UNCRPD. The Oogvereniging is partner of the annual “Oogcongres”. Every two weeks a newsletter is published

  9. How does your organisation inform others about the available habilitation and rehabilitation and support services for blind and partially sighted people?

    Incidentally in publications, the service providers are well known and they issue news on their accessible websites

  10. In what way is your organisation working with specialised ophthalmologists, optometrists, rehabilitation centres, and teachers, residential homes for older people etc. to prevent, inform and support people with visual impairment?

    In an informal way and if needed in a special case in a formal way

  11. Is your organisation involved in the Vision 2020 initiative in your country?

    Not directly

  12. Are you familiar with the EBU standards for low vision services in Europe toolkit for implementing the right of partially sighted people to the services they need? How helpful is this resource document?

    Yes

  13. What, if any, type of support would you like to have to implement UNCRPD article 26 for blind and partially sighted people? Be as specific as possible.

    No specific support is needed but it is important to interact within the EBU on this issue

  14. If you compare the current situation with five years ago, regarding the implementation of the right to rehabilitation services for blind people and for people with partial sight, would you say that in your country:
    • a. nothing has changed (explain )
    • b. The situation has worsened (explain why and how)
    • c. The situation has improved (explain why and how)

      b. The situation is worse because the financing system has been changed in a negative way. The access to rehabilitation is not free of charge anymore (see above) and it is less easy to get a place in a retirement home. People with a handicap have to live longer at home but the WMO does not (yet) fit optimal to the needs of the vip in this situation

  15. Is further action needed in your country? If yes, please explain what needs to be done.

    Yes. The access to the rehabilitation centres should become somewhat easier especially in case of simple questions, The WMO should take the needs of vips more into account

  16. Please send any articles, material, training, standards, protocols, or links that you feel could perhaps serve your colleagues in other EBU countries aiming at high standards services for everyone with sight loss.

    N/A