France - Article 28

I - The resources and income of disabled people.

  1. Are there specific legislative procedures for disabled people to enable them to have a minimum of resources ?
  2. Do laws exist in your country to enable a minimum of resources for people who become disabled during their working lives ?

II - Disability compensation.

I –THE RESOURCES AND INCOME OF DISABLED PEOPLE.

A) An average of 70% of blind and seriously partially-sighted people of working age are unemployed. Are there specific legislative procedures for disabled people in your country to enable them to have a minimum of resources?

Yes

  • If yes: what are these allowances?

In France, the Adult Disability Allowance ‘l'Allocation aux Adultes Handicapés' (AAH) offers a minimum allowance to disabled people to meet everyday expenses.

Give specific details of the following aspects:

 

  • 1 Criteria of eligibility
  1. Age.

    - Minimum:
    20 years of age. This is lowered to 16 if the beneficiary of the AAH is married or working.
    - Maximum:
    60 years of age. Under the current legislation, over this age, the AAH is replaced by the state retirement pension. If the amount of this pension is inferior to that of the AAH, an AAH differential can be attributed regardless of age.

  2. Level of disability.
    To be eligible for the allowance the person must have either a permanent disability equal to or over 80%, (which is the case for totally blind people), or have a disability of between 50 and 80% but in this case must be certified as “being unable to procure employment due to a disability”. For the visually impaired the degree of disability is considered according to three criteria: close- and long-range vision (after correction) and field of vision. Disability levels are therefore considered on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Nationality.
    French nationality is not a requirement, but foreign nationals must present proof of the legality of their residence in France.
  4. Conditions of residence in the country.
    The applicant must be a permanent resident of France. If absent for more than three calendar months, (other than to study or learn a foreign language), the AAH is accorded only for the months of full residence in France.

 

  • 2 Financial conditions.
  1. Ceiling.
    - Is the allowance means-tested?

    Yes

    - If yes, does the ceiling take into account the family situation of the person?

    Yes

    - If yes, give details.

    To receive the AAH, any income received must be inferior to that of the AAH: 711.95 € a month on the 1st January 2011. This ceiling is doubled if the person is married or cohabiting it is increased by 50% per dependent child. Thus, for a couple with two children, the monthly limit will be 2135.85 Euro.

  2. Calculation of financial conditions.

    - If the allowance is means-tested, state under what conditions.

    All income declared by the person and his/her partner on their income tax declaration is taken into account, with the exception of their children's income. For unemployed beneficiaries, the attribution of the AAH is considered for each twelve-month period beginning on the 1st of January, income from 2009 would thus be considered on the 1st of January 2011. For those in employment, the attribution is considered each quarter, based on income received in the preceding quarter.

  • 3 Amount of the allowance.
  1. Normal rate.

    - What is the amount of the allowance given to people with no other income, state briefly how the allowance varies according to other income or resources.
     

    For a recipient without any resources, whether single or married, with or without children, the monthly amount of the AAH is 711.95 €. If the beneficiary or his/her partner  have other income, the amount of AAH is equal to the difference between the ceiling applicable to them as specified above, and the amount of income received, but cannot exceed 711.95 €. Following a decree in November 2010, the earnings of the beneficiary taken into consideration are reduced by 80% for the part less than or equal to 30% of the minimum wage (SMIC), i.e. 545.97 € as of 1 January 2011, and by 40% for the rest, in order to promote the re-employment of disabled workers. Thus, for example, a single person who works will only completely lose the AAH if the monthly wage is 1,716 € or more. The totality of the partner's income is taken into account. In addition the Act of February 11, 2005 instituted a "Guarantee of Resources for People with Disabilities" (GRTH) that allows beneficiaries of AAH totally unable to work and living independently, to obtain the payment of an "Additional Resources" allowance in addition to the AAH, the amount at 1 January 2011 is 179.31 € therefore bringing the GRTH to 891.26 €.

  2. Reduction of the allowance.

    - State briefly under what circumstances the allowance may be reduced.

    The benefit is reduced when it is combined with an invalidity, old age or work injury pension. It is then paid in addition to this allowance within the limits of the above ceiling. It can also be reduced in case of hospitalization of the beneficiary after a period of two months, but beneficiaries must always retain at least 30% of the allowance they would otherwise have received.

 

  • 4 Minimum wage and “poverty line”.

- In order to compare the situation in different EBU member states, please indicate the minimum wage (if this exists in your country) for a full-time worker, and what is considered to be “the poverty line”.

In France the minimum wage as of 1 January 2011, is 1051 € Net, the "poverty line" was 949 € in 2008, it has not been reviewed since.

  • 5 Payment of the allowance.

 - What are the organisations which calculate and attribute the allowance?

In France, the AAH is given by the "Commission on Human Rights and the Autonomy of the Disabled" (CDAPH) that exists in each ‘département', it includes representatives of the State, the Départment, as well as associations representing people with disabilities. The AAH and any supplementary allowances are paid by the Family Allowance (Caisse d'Allocations Familiales, CAF), the resources of which come from contributions paid on earnings: the "Family" branch is linked to the Social Security system.

  • 6 Tax treatment of allowances and fringe benefits.
  1. Tax. Is the benefit subject to tax?
    No
  2. Fringe benefits. Does this allowance accord any fringe benefits?
    Yes

    In France, the AAH cannot be seized by creditors, except for payment of maintenance costs of the disabled person. It also opens the right to three additional benefits: immediate free inclusion in the Health Insurance and Maternity benefits system; exemption from two taxes; Real estate tax paid by property owners and Housing Tax paid by residents on their place of residence, and also reduction of the telephone bill when subscribing to a fixed telephone service.

B) Do laws exist in your country to enable a minimum of resources for people who become disabled during their working lives?

Yes

  • If yes : what is the name of the allowance ?

In France, the Disability Pension, ‘pension d'invalidité' (PI) is a replacement income to help offset loss of income resulting from the incapacity to work or earn a living due to illness or a non work-related accident.

Specify by giving details of the following aspects:

 

  • 1 Criteria of eligibility

 

  1. Age.
    The disability pension is paid to people under age 60. After that age, it is replaced by an old-age incapacity pension. If the person has taken a job and wants to continue after 60 years, the PI will cease to be paid.
  2. Degree of disability.
    The insured is entitled to PI when having a disability which impairs his ability to work or earnings by at least 2/3.
  3. Nationality.
    No nationality requirements.
  4. Residency requirements.
    French residency is not a requirement; the PI can be paid to beneficiaries who, for example, have returned to their home country. However, if the PI is paid, the fund responsible for payment must be able to control administrative and medical details at the address of the recipient. Controls are generally carried out by the Social Security agency in the country of residence. In the case of inability to carry out the control the payment of the PI is suspended from the date of departure abroad.
  5. Other conditions, please give details.
    In France, two additional conditions are required to qualify for the PI: The applicant must firstly be registered with Social Security for at least twelve months prior to the date of stopping work due to disability or the date of medical diagnosis of disability, and must also provide proof of having worked at least 800 hours during the twelve months preceding the work stoppage or diagnosis, or have, during that same twelve month period , received a salary of at least 2,030 times the hourly minimum wage (14,070 € from 1 January 2011).

  • 2 Means test.

The resources of the beneficiary are not taken into account in calculating the amount of PI. However, in the case of resumption of professional activity, the pension is suspended or reduced when during two consecutive quarters; the cumulative amount of wages or earnings and pension exceeds the average quarterly wage of the last calendar year preceding the cessation of work followed by disability.

 

  • 3 Amount of the allowance.

In France, the PI is calculated based on average earnings obtained from the ten best years of wages. Wages taken into account, however, cannot exceed 35,352 € per year by 1 January 2011. The amount of PI is a percentage of the average wage, which varies according to the classification into one of three categories:

- 1st category: the applicant's health status enables him reduced employment, the PI is equal to 30% of average annual salary;

- 2nd category: the health of the applicant does not allow the pursuit of an occupation; entitlement is a PI equal to 50% of average annual salary;

- 3rd category: The applicant cannot engage in any occupation, and must have recourse to a third person to perform acts of daily life, entitlement is a PI equal to 50% of average annual salary, plus a flat rate increase for Third Person (‘Majoration forfaitaire pour Tierce Personne', MTP) equal to 1038 € on 1 January 2011. In case of hospitalization, the MTP is not paid from the second calendar month following hospitalization. If the person returns to work and so is no longer entitled to disability pension, the MTP will continue to be paid. Finally, the MTP is paid even after the age of 60.

 

  • 4 Attribution, payment of the allowance.

- Who attributes the allowance: State, local government, others, give details.

In France, the application for PI can be made either by the individual, (though in practice this method has little chance of success), or by his National Health Insurance (‘Caisse d'Assurance Maladie') which, after a period of three-years of sickness benefit, estimates that the health of the individual has reduced earning capacity by 2/3 and therefore decides to assign a PI. The PI is always assigned subject to quarterly controls, it can be reduced, revised or cancelled if the person has "adapted to their disability" and no longer needs the help of another person or has taken up an occupation. PI is paid by the National Health Insurance whose resources come from contributions on earnings: the "illness" section is part of the Social Security system.

  • 5 Tax treatment of allowances and fringe benefits.
  1. Tax. Is the benefit subject to tax?
    Yes
  2. Fringe benefits. Does this allowance accord fringe benefits?
    Yes
    In France, the PI can be seized by creditors under the same conditions and limitations as wages; however the MTP cannot be seized by creditors. The PI also offers complete reimbursement of healthcare costs and a lump-sum payment upon the death of the beneficiary.

II – DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

A visual disability (blindness or serious loss of sight) entails additional costs which must be met. Is there a specific allowance in your country to compensate for these costs?

Yes

  • If yes, give the name of this allowance and reply to the following questions.

 In France, the ‘Prestation de Compensation du Handicap' (PCH) put in place by the law of 11 February 2005 and replacing the old ‘Allocation Compensatrice Tierce Personne' (ACTP), has as its goal to compensate for all additional costs entailed by a disability.

  • 1 Eligibility conditions.
  1. Age.

    - Minimum:

    In France, a person can apply for the PCH from 20 years of age onwards.
    However, this limit can be lowered to 16 if the beneficiary is married or has a full-time occupation. In addition, parents of a disabled child below the age of 20 can obtain the PCH primarily to meet the transport costs for the child.

    - Maximum:

    The PCH can be applied for up to the age of 60. However, there are also exceptions which have been taken into account: firstly, people who were disabled prior to reaching this age limit can apply for the PCH until the age of 75; secondly, people who are still working can continue to apply for the PCH for as long as they remain in employment. It should be noted that the law of 2005 stated that all age-related criteria should be removed within 5 years. This is not the case, which has led certain associations for the visually impaired to bring court actions.

    - Duration of the allowance.

    A person having obtained the PCH within the above age limits can continue to receive the allocation throughout their life, with no upper age limit.

  2. Degree of disability.
    The PCH is based on the “Personal Project” of the applicant and not on the degree of disability. To obtain the allowance, a person must therefore be unable to carry out an essential daily activity for themselves, or the person encounters serious difficulties in carrying out at least two activities which have been classified in five areas: mobility, personal hygiene, communication, essential everyday tasks, relationships with others.
  3. Nationality.
    French nationality is not a requirement, but foreign nationals must present proof of the legality of their residence in France.
  4. Conditions of residence in the country.
    The applicant must be a permanent resident of France. If absent for more than three calendar months, (other than to study or learn a foreign language), the PCH is accorded only for the months of full residence in France.
  5. Other conditions, give details.

    In France, the PCH is only provided to finance six types of assistance; the requirements of the person are outlined in a “Compensation Plan”.

    - The help of a third party:

    The applicant must require the help of a third party in order to accomplish one or more essential daily activities, as indicated above, in order to be able to carry out either a professional activity or an elective office, when such help as is required is not offered by other dispositions in place. Blind people (who have no central vision or which is inferior to 1/20 of normal vision) are presumed to require the assistance of a third party for 50 hours a month, they do not need to prove this requirement in order to obtain the PCH.

    - Technical assistance:

    The PCH can finance the purchase or hire of material which either offers greater autonomy to the person in their daily activities, or which assures their security, or which facilitates the intervention of carers. The person must be capable of using the technical assistance regularly or frequently.

    - Adapting the home:

    Rarely used by visually impaired people.

    - Additional costs related to transport:

    Regular, frequent or annual holiday transport can be taken into account.

    - Specific or exceptional assistance:

    Concerns permanent foreseeable costs (maintenance contracts), or specific costs related to the disability which must be proved (repairs to technical devices, for example.)

    - Assistance with animals contributing to the autonomy of the person:

    Costs related to the purchase and subsequent upkeep of a guide dog are only met if the animal has been trained in a recognised centre by trained instructors.

 

  • 2 Financial conditions.

100% of costs are met if the resources of the applicant are below the monthly ceiling of 2076 € as of 1st January 2011, 80% above this ceiling. It should be noted that, following the law of 2005, a considerable number of resources are no longer taken into account in this ceiling, notably those related to the employment of the applicant or their partner, old-age pensions or alimony. In practice only capital gains income is taken into account.

 

  • 3 Amount of the allowance.

- What is the amount of the allowance?

The PCH is calculated according to variable ceilings and duration limits according to different elements of the compensation plan.

- Third party assistance:

The amount of the PCH is equal to the hourly salary of the carer multiplied by the number of hours worked. The hourly rates vary according to the type of care:

Family help: between 3.43 and 5.15 €;

Direct employment: 11.96 €;

Home-help: between 13.16 and 17.59 €.

To pay for 50 hours of third-party assistance per month a blind person receives the lump sum of 598 €.

- Technical assistance:

The maximum amount of the PCH for technical assistance is 3960 € over a three-year period. This amount is insufficient to obtain certain technical aids which are very useful to the visually impaired, who must seek complementary financing.

- Adapting the home:

10000 € over a ten-year period.

- Additional costs related to transport:

5000 € over a five-year period, an amount which can be raised to 12000 € for trips to and from work or a medical establishment specialised in disabilities.

- Specific or exceptional assistance:

100 € per month over a ten-year period for the first, 800 € over a three-year period for the second.

- Assistance with animals:

3000 € over a five-year period dating from the 1st day of the month of the application, and ending on the 1st day of the month following the death of the animal.

 

  • 4 Attribution and payment of the allowance.

- Which organisations attribute and pay the allowance:
State, local authorities, please give details.

In France, the application for the PCH is made to the ‘Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées' (MDPH). The applicant must present their “Personal Project” indicating their needs in all the areas of their life: living conditions, professional activity, means of transport, third-party requirements, etc. A team of diverse professionals meet with the applicant to develop the “compensation plan” which is sent for validation to the ‘Commission des Droits et de l'Autonomie des Personnes Handicapées' (CDAPH). This includes representatives of the state, the region, the education system and disability associations. The applicant can be present or send a representative. The PCH is payed by the ‘département', financed by local taxes and an annual subvention paid by the ‘Caisse Nationale de Solidarité pour l'Autonomie' (CNSA) created in 2005 to collect the funds raised by the National Solidarity Day.

 

  • 5 Payment of the allowance.

The PCH is paid monthly; however, with the exclusion of the third-party assistance, a lump-sum payment can be requested if an invoice is provided.

 

  • 6 Reduction of the allowance.

- State briefly under what conditions the allowance can be reduced.

In France, with the exception of blind people, the beneficiary of the PCH must provide justification of the use of the amount received; controls are carried out by the ‘département'. If the required justification is not provided, payment of the PCH will be suspended and the ‘département' may request reimbursement of the amount paid. Finally, the amount of the PCH, notably for third-party assistance, will be reduced if the beneficiary is hospitalised or in another establishment.

 

  • 7 Tax system of the allowance and fringe benefits.
  1. Tax system.
    Is the allowance subject to tax?

    No
  2. Fringe benefits.
    Does the allowance offer fringe benefits?

    Yes

    - If yes, give details.
    In France, the PCH cannot be seized by creditors except to pay for the daily upkeep of the person.