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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 17 - 23  > Elderly disabled persons suffer financial pain under Abe gov’t’s cutbacks in public nursing-care program
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2019 July 17 - 23 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Elderly disabled persons suffer financial pain under Abe gov’t’s cutbacks in public nursing-care program

July 19, 2019

Under the Prime Minister Abe-led government, the public nursing-care insurance program has been adversely revised. With the revision, people aged 65 years and over, whose income is above a certain level, have to pay up to 30% of the cost for the use of nursing-care services. People whose care-need level is officially assessed as “low” have only a limited range of services.

Shimizu Takeo, 76, and his wife live in Kanagawa’s Odawara City. Shimizu, who has visual impairment and the related disability certificate, began using nursing-care services seven years ago when his wife developed severe rheumatism.

Since the government made cutbacks in the public nursing-care program in 2018, the couple has had to shoulder 30% of the cost when they use nursing-care services. This is because Shimizu earned income by selling his land the previous year.

Shimizu said with a sigh, “Before the revision, I visited a nursing-care facility once a week to receive day service, which cost 2,400 yen a month. But, now, the service charge has been increased to 3,380 yen and I reduced the use of day services to twice a month. On top of this, we need to pay about 15,000 yen every month to use housekeeping and outing assistance services, in addition to day services.”

The nursing-care insurance system is not designed to support disabled people in their everyday lives. However, it is practically compulsory for disabled persons to apply for the nursing-care insurance program when turning 65 years. This is often criticized as causing a deterioration in disabled persons’ quality of life because under the program it is difficult for the disabled to receive necessary services while bearing heavy financial burdens for nursing-care services regardless of their financial condition.

Shimizu said, “The government should take measures that allow disabled elderly to have the choice between the continued use of the welfare program for the disabled and application for the nursing-care program. The ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties are unwilling to sincerely listen to our voices. In contrast, the Japanese Communist Party always works hard inside and outside the Diet to respond to and represent our demands.”

Past related articles:
> Abe’s 2019 economic and fiscal policy sticks to cutbacks in social welfare services [June 24, 2019]
> Bill to impose further burden of nursing-care services on elderly enacted [May 27, 2017]

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