Social assistant center activity meeting needs of clients: case of Vilnius

Leta Dromantienė, Ineta Gluoksnytė

Abstract


The essence of the research is to identify problems and analyse interrelated social policy for disabled in EU and Lithuania. The EU approach to disability does not identify separate categories of people, but is instead based on individual needs. This is a much more socially-inclusive approach than one based on categorisation. It implies a general shift away from disability-specific programmes towards a mainstream approach. The goal is to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the same human rights as everyone else, by removing barriers and combating all forms of disability-related discrimination. The European Union’s commitment towards its disabled citizens goes hand in hand with an approach to disability based not on the concept of passive assistance but on the idea of integration and active participation in economic and social life.
Social welfare, elimination of social exclusion are the main social goals in most of the European and other states. In an individual level, welfare includes a certain level of income and material conditions, as well as the possibilities to take one’s rights and to meet various needs. When a person is economically inactive his/her well-being and social functioning become very problematic. Furthermore, the possibilities to meet one’s needs are very restricted. That causes social exclusion of the particular social groups, including the disabled, lonely, aged etc. In such a situation the system of social security plays an extremely meaningful role. The object of the inquiry being conducted is the receivers of social assistance benefits in Vilnius city, namely the disabled people and their family members. The payment of these benefits is under the responsibility of Vilnius municipality institution The Unit of Social Benefits (Socialinių išmokų skyrius). The guiding question of this inquiry is how much the activities of The Unit of Social Benefits help to meet the needs of the disabled and their family members.
The data collected revealed that the most common needs of the social group mentioned above are: financial support; physical and psychical health care; general and special social services; moral support; information about the social assistance etc.
To sum up, the activities of The Unit of Social Benefits only partly help to meet the needs of the disabled people and their family members. In order to facilitate the social functioning of the groups excluded, the support system should be more sensitive and integrated.

Keywords


disabled; social integration; equal rights; social support; social assistance benefits

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789