Labour pledges disability pensions for fibromyalgia sufferers

Labour proposal will see sufferers of fibromyalgia and other 'hidden' conditions benefit from disability pensions 

Fibromyalgia is not yet recognized as a disability in Malta (Stock photo)
Fibromyalgia is not yet recognized as a disability in Malta (Stock photo)

A new Labour government will finally allow fibromyalgia sufferers to benefit from disability pensions.

In its proposals for the disability sector, Labour has pledged a reform of disability allowances, that will see it extended to sufferers of fibromyalgia and other “hidden” conditions.

It will also widen the eligibility criteria for visually and hearing impaired people to qualify for disability pensions. 

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition and sufferers often describe symptoms of constant intense pain all over their body and a debilitating exhaustion that is not relieved by rest. Although the pain often prevents sufferers from holding down a job, the condition has not yet been recognized as a disability.

Labour’s proposals for the disability sector were launched at Mtarfa this morning by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, parliamentary secretary for the disabled Justyne Caruana, and PL candidate Marion Mizzi.

A Labour government, in partnership with parents, will set up a National Fund for Independent Living that disabled children will be able to access once their parents pass away. A similar proposal has been pitched by the Nationalist Party.

“The days of institutionalization are over, and I don’t want any disabled person to be sent off to an institution once their parents die,” Muscat said.

Students in need of a LSA will also be assured that one will be present with them in class on any given day of the week, thereby eliminating an anomaly in the education system whereby children have to stay at home when their LSA is sick. LSAs for children with mild disabilities, such as autism and ADHD, will also be provided at government summer schools.

Elsewhere, invalidity pensions for severely disabled people will be increased, more residential homes for disabled people will be built, and people with disabilities – as well as their parents – will be eligible to the same benefits as first-time buyers when purchasing property.