The Ministry of Social Solidarity wants to expand the number of individuals with disabilities benefiting from its Integrated Services Card
“We Will Reach You” is a newly launched campaign that aims to issue one million additional Integrated Services Cards to people with special needs nationwide by the end of January 2024.
Launched by the Ministry of Social Solidarity in cooperation with the Sonaa Al-Hayat (Life Makers) Foundation, the campaign aims to make it easier for people with disabilities and their families to obtain the card.
Currently 1.5 million individuals with disabilities already have cards. According to Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine Al-Qabbaj, the number of people with disabilities in Egypt is about 11 million.
The card enables its holder to obtain two pensions and facilitates their integration into schools and universities. It also allows exemption from taxes and customs duties on cars and prosthetic devices and enables holders to obtain discounts on transportation and on subscriptions to youth centres and sports clubs.
It grants free examinations in hospitals and free admission to museums and archaeological sites.
The campaign will reach people with disabilities and record their data through mobile rehabilitation offices across Egypt. Al-Qabbaj announced at a press conference last week that the campaign will begin this month in Cairo, Giza, Qalioubiya, Alexandria, Menoufiya, Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Daqahliya, Kafr Al-Sheikh, North Sinai and South Sinai, Ismailia, Suez, Qena, and Sohag governorates. It will soon expand to Egypt’s other governorates.
Some 5,000 volunteers alongside 15,000 female social workers will take part in the campaign. They will reach out to people with disabilities, visit their homes, and conduct a comprehensive survey of their needs, while at the same time raising awareness of the benefits of the Integrated Services Card and the documents required to get one.
An evaluation of the degree of disability of applicants is necessary in order that each applicant can access services according to the degree of their disability, Al-Qabbaj said. It is important to get this information firsthand from applicants in order to eliminate possible abuses.
According to Al-Qabbaj, persons with third-degree disabilities, which include mild visual and hearing impairments, autism spectrum disorder, and some blood diseases, can apply for their card online. They will then be asked to undergo an evaluation by a social rehabilitation office in order to determine the extent of any functional difficulties that an applicant faces in performing daily life activities.
For persons with more severe disabilities, an approved medical report obtained during the past three years and accredited by one of the hospitals of the Ministry of Health or the Armed Forces or the police or by a private hospital should be submitted.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 17 August, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly