Switzerland - Article 26

(updated 11/01/2018)

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 for:
    • a. Health (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
      Yes. A federal law (Bundesgesetz über die Invalidenversicherung IVG (1959)). Art. 74 is regulating the financement for services and general conditions for rehabilitation. This regulation is not specific for visual problems.
    • b. Education (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
      Yes. The Federal Government and the 26 cantonal governments have to offer rehabilitation for pupils with visual impairments. They are 26 laws for this application, which are not easy to understand and operate with.
    • c. Employment (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
      Yes. There is a federal law (Bundesgesetz über die Invalidenversicherung IVG (1959).) Art. 74 regulates financement for services and general conditions for rehabilitation. This regulation is not specific for visual problems.
    • d. Social Services (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
      Yes. The Law is: Bundesgesetz über die Invalidenversicherung IVG (1959). Art. 74 regulate financement for services and general conditions for rehabilitation. This regulation is not specific for visual problems.
  2. Is there a legal right to assistive technology, aids and equipment? (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

    Yes. The Law is: Bundesgesetz über die Invalidenversicherung IVG (1959). Art. 74 regulate financement for services and general conditions for rehabilitation. This regulation is not specific for visual problems.

  3. Do laws on rehabilitation recognise and support participation in all aspects of community life? (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    No. The swiss laws are primary oriented to integration in the working life. The aim is a financial independendence on a most high level. Other aspects of integration and participation are secondary and only partially supported. There is a jungle of little rules to know.
  4. Are there policies on habilitation and rehabilitation services for people who are blind or partially sighted?
    • a. For children who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
      No difference made between visually impaired and blind persons.
    • b. For adults of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
      No official policies. What happens is due to the entrepreneurial initiative of the Organizations for and of the people who are blind or partially sighted.
    • c. For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
      No official policies. What happens is due to the entrepreneurial initiative of the Organizations for and of the people who are blind or partially sighted.
  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
    Yes for children (multidisciplinary assessment), no for other age-groups.
  6. Are there policies on developing peer support for habilitation and rehabilitation?
    • a. For children (please also include policies on family support) who are (i) Blind (ii) Partially sighted
    • b. For people of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    • c. For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
      No
  7. Are there resources for peer support services? Please describe these and give web links where possible for people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    Peer to peer support is organised by entrepreneurial initiative of the organisations of blind and partially sighted persons in the sectors of:
    - IT support and equipment
    - Using Apple devices
    - Sports
    - Leisure and general education
  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? Please give details for people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    One half of the rehabilitation services are operated by the organisations of blind and partially sighted persons. In this case the services and standards are developed by them. The other half of services is operated by charity-organisations and in this case the developments are decided by others. But the organisations try to coordinate the developments and standards.

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 living for people who are: (i) Partially sighted persons (ii) Blind persons
    All helpdesks are for the full range of visually impairments. But the services are oriented on the needs of the person and so they are different answers for different persons. The kind of visual impairment is only one of the variables (others: age, personality, …)
  2. What is the full range of services in your country, for (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    12,000 persons have purchased 132,000 hours of services in 2015. There is no differentiation between blind and partially sighted persons possible.
  3. How is eligibility determined to access habilitation and rehabilitation services for (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    There are no determined conditions.
  4. Who provides habilitation and rehabilitation services (for example, dedicated blindness and low vision rehabilitation and support centres, hospitals (private and public), NGOs)? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    NGOs
  5. Are services available locally in all parts of the country? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    Yes
  6. How are services funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    40% State grant, 50% offered by the NGOs, 10% paid by the user
  7. If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    No
  8. Are services available for all age groups: children, adults and older people? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    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? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    The initiative to know about the services and aids available rests with the blind person. Only little campaigning is done and the state does not promote them.
  2. What training is provided in the use of equipment and technology? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    no meaningful reply
  3. How is eligibility for equipment, technology and training determined? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    n/a
  4. How are aids, equipment and technology funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    There is a multitude of rules on this field. Aids an equipment for improving education and accessibility on the workplace are mostly funded by the government. Some aids for private use and participation after retirement are poor funded by the government and the NGOs have to complete funding in this field.
  5. If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    Yes, for old people and migrants
  6. Are there any limitations on the choice of equipment? What are these? (i) For blind persons (ii) For partially sighted persons
    Limitations for equipment on IT-devices and others if they are not for professional needs

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.)
    Accredited programmes and advanced training for teachers and for rehabilitation trainers in low vision, locomotion and daily activities
  2. Please describe how rehabilitation professionals are trained. Does training emphasise meeting needs on an individual basis?
    Yes, it’s a big aim
  3. Does professional training incorporate human rights perspectives?
    Little
  4. Additional comments on professional training
    The training is not granted by the government!

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.
    In Switzerland there is no National organisation (umbrella organisation), therefore it is difficult to explain. I can only give the conditions for SFB, which must non exactly be the same as for SUB ot others, but nervertheless comparable. Our statut says that a visual impaired or a blind person can become a member if the visual handicap is a hindrance in the choice or the execution of a profession or in the daily life.
  3. Is this strictly applied, or is there more flexibility in practice?
    It cannot be applied very strictly with this formulation. But e.g. a person which is still able to drive a car cannot be a member.
  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.
    People are free where they are becoming members, but the conditions are more or less the same in all Swiss Organisations. The only exception is Retina Suisse. With this organisation the diagnosis Retina is sufficient; you can become a member without being heavily handicapped and without the handicap already being a hindrance.
  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, especially regarding:
    • a. policies and standards
    • b. monitoring of implementation
    • c. actions to ensure that dedicated services are in place that meet the distinct needs of blind and partially sighted people.
    • d. actual provision of services to blind and partially sighted people and the rights that people with visual impairment have to services.
      As a good part of the services is financed by the national insurance for handicapped people, it comes to this insurance to stipulate policies and standards which is done when the contract between the NGO and the insurance is concluded. The NGO has to deliver an annual reporting to the insurance. It is the insurance law which is stipulating the access to services for handicapped persons (the law does not only treat the visual impairment).
  6. Is there an officer or expert appointed in your organisation to work on partial sight matters? Please describe.
    No, the formation for the persons delivering services includes partial sight matters as well as blindness
  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.)
    We do have rehabilitation centers of our own. Where no centers of SFB are situated, our members / clients are served by the centers of the other NGO’s. In Switzerland we have an overall offer of services. The Swiss National Association of and for the Blind is offering a formation for rehabilitation trainers. All people offering services to visually impaired or blind persons have to follow the respective formation and exams. The formation is recognised by the Swiss Government. In addition to this SFB is working in lobbying and actually we do have a project which is vised to the preservation of jobs when a person is getting visually impaired and to the creation of jobs for visually impaired or blind persons and for the professional integration.
  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.)
    Website, journal, collaboration with ophthalmologists, campaigns, service centers
  9. How does your organisation inform others about the available habilitation and rehabilitation and support services for blind and partially sighted people?
    Website, journal, collaboration with ophthalmologists, campaigns, service centers
  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?
    Website, journal, collaboration with ophthalmologists, campaigns, service centers
  11. Is your organisation involved in the Vision 2020 initiative in your country?
    No
  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, it is at disposal for our specialists.
  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.
    None
  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)
      The situation has only worsened for the organisations offering the services, but not for the clients. The national insurance for handicapped persons is in deficit, so they try to make economies on their contributions. Therefore the part of the services paid by the insurance is getting smaller. The services are still available nearly for free, but the NGO’s have to pay the uncovered part with fundraising or their own resources. It is possible that in the future the services have partially to be paid by the user.
    • c. The situation has improved (explain why and how)
  15. Is further action needed in your country? If yes, please explain what needs to be done.
    n/a
  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