Disability policy in Sweden

People with disabilities have rights enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Swedish Agency for Participation is the expert agency in the disabilities area and works to enable everyone, regardless of their functional abilities, to participate in society.

Disability policy is cross-sectoral

Disability policy is a factor in all policy areas. People with disabilities must be able to participate in society on equal terms to people without disabilities.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Sweden has acceded to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Sweden has also acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention. This gives individuals or groups of individuals the possibility of lodging a complaint with a monitoring committee if they consider their rights have been violated.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities does not create any new rights. The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all people with disabilities.

The Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. It entered into force in Sweden in 2009.

Strategy for disability policy

There is a five-year strategy for disability policy which applies for the period 2011-2016. The strategy is based partly on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

It presents the direction of policy together with concrete goals for public initiatives and how results are to be followed up over the next five years.

People with disabilities must be able to participate in society

The Social Services Act requires municipalities to take action to enable people who encounter significant difficulty in everyday life for physical, mental or other reasons to participate in the community and live like others.

Among other things, the municipality is to help ensure that these people have a meaningful occupation and can live in accommodation that is adapted to their needs. To manage this, the municipality is to organise access to accommodation with special services.

The goal, as defined by the Act concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments, is for it to be possible for people with extensive functional impairments to live like others.

These services are to promote equality of living conditions and full participation. The Act specifies the target group and defines the measures that can be granted.

Assistance allowance regulated in the Social Insurance Code

Chapter 51 of the Social Insurance Code contains regulations on the state allowance payable for personal assistance.

Working to enable everyone to participate in society

The Swedish Agency for Participation works to enable everyone, regardless of their functional abilities, to participate in society. The Agency was created by merging the Swedish Agency for Disability Policy Coordination (Handisam) and parts of the Swedish Institute of Assistive Technology. Its task is to promote systematic and effective implementation of disability policy at all levels of society.

Agency decisions may be reviewed

Anyone who is dissatisfied with a decision taken by a central government agency can contact the agency in question and request a review of the decision. If still dissatisfied with the review decision, they can appeal to an administrative court, then to an administrative court of appeal and finally to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Anyone who considers that they, or anybody else, have been treated incorrectly by a government agency or official processing a matter can also file a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombudsmen.