Bridging the Gap: Employing a Combination of Schemes to Cover Disability Related Costs of Children with Disabilities

Feb 16, 2023 | Policy Analysis


Studies show that the costs of providing support for children with disabilities at the stage of their lives where it is most crucial cannot be compared to the cost of living with permanent or unmitigated disabilities1. For this, among many reasons, the seemingly inadequate and inequitable social protection for Filipino children with disabilities remains to be a point of concern.

Although the Philippines may have been at the forefront of the recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities- with the ratification of international conventions, enactment of laws, and implementation of various programs- measures to expand coverage and ensure equitable access are still lacking. More so in the case of children with disabilities who have overlapping vulnerabilities it is necessary to employ needs-based interventions that would enable them to at least reach comparable living standards of households without children with disabilities. The interventions should take into account how they would contribute to the sector’s social participation and functioning.

The recently conducted study entitled “Cost of Raising Children with Disabilities in the Philippines”2 offers a wealth of information on the extra costs households with children with disabilities face. Consequently, this opens doors for interventions specifically for children with disabilities that have been missing in the Philippine social protection system. Thus, this policy analysis paper presents policy alternatives that are drawn mainly from the key findings of the study and other related literature— 1) Maintain existing strategies for children with disabilities- with no specific disability allowance; 2) Introduce a Disability Allowance and 3) Employ a combination of schemes to cover disability related costs. Using multi-goal analysis, these alternatives were assessed against a set of policy goals such as equity, welfare, effectiveness, efficiency, and feasibility.

Based on the analysis, Policy Option 3- employing a combination of schemes to cover disability related costs is recommended. With the combination of schemes, the disability allowance would cover some of the basic disability related costs, especially increased consumption of ordinary goods and services and some of the lower-cost disability specific goods and services. On the other hand, in-kind benefits and services would reduce the variation in the remaining extra costs and allow for fewer under- or over- cash payments meant to cover them. A combination of schemes would not only address the minimum extra costs associated with having a disability, but it would also provide an opportunity for optimum participation and functioning. Having said that, recognizing both the urgency to provide immediate assistance to children with disabilities, and the administrative demands of Policy Alternative 3, covering the costs of disability could be progressively realized with the Policy Alternative 2 – introduction of a disability allowance – as the starting point.

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Bridging the Gap: Employing a Combination of Schemes to Cover Disability Related Costs of Children with Disabilities