Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Frans Pennings and Gijsbert Vonk
Chapter 12: Social security and the disabled
At international, European and national level, there are covenants, directives and other legal provisions prohibiting discrimination against disabled people. Within the EU and its Member States, there is no specific social security scheme referring to disabled people. On the contrary, disability policy has for a long time been part of other policy areas such as health insurance, poverty-avoidance schemes, welfare services or invalidity pension schemes and still is a compilation of numerous programmes, strategies and isolated legal regulatory measures. With regard to social inclusion of all people, regardless of their capacities, current aims particularly are to prohibit discrimination against disabled people and to promote their participation in the labour market. Promoting economic self-sufficiency is one of the main measures to prevent disabled people from having to live in poverty and thus to dismantle the poverty trap. Yet, in economically difficult times such as those we are currently experiencing, it is difficult for disabled people to find employment or not to drop out of the labour market. In order to promote employment, policy makers tend to diminish social protection for disadvantaged groups such as disabled people. By taking a look at the relevant international and European legal provisions, some data, the situation in one EU Member State – Austria – and by examining a recent Court of Justice judgment on that topic, the following chapter will show that there is a connection between employment policy, anti-discrimination policy and other EU policy measures concerning disabled people.
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