PM Mitsotakis meets with beneficiary of personal assistant pilot program for disabled citizens

PM Mitsotakis meets with beneficiary of personal assistant pilot program for disabled citizens

A disabled teacher in public schools for special education, Argyro Lambara, who has benefited from the Personal Assistant (PA) program for people with disabilities, met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Acropolis Museum on Tuesday.

The prime minister engaged in a conversation with Argyro and her PA, Alexandra Bekou, discussing the positive impact of this pilot program on the daily lives of participants and their families, as well as potential improvements.

Mitsotakis stated that the program is a "personal dream" and highlighted that, in the past, it was often relatives who had to take on the responsibilities of caring for family members on a daily basis. Argyro emphasized that the program is "one of the most important ones in modern Greece for people with disabilities," and others are hopeful to be able to benefit from it as well.

Alexandra mentioned that the training and experience were not difficult to learn. Social Cohesion and Family Minister Sofia Zacharaki and Secretary General for Social Solidarity and Fighting Poverty Prodromos Pyrros were also present at the meeting.

The Program

Participants are selected through a lottery, and Prime Minister Mitsotakis stated that the goal is "to reach a point where we have guaranteed and stable funding for whoever needs a personal assistant."

The program was initially introduced on a pilot basis in the Attica Region in April 2022 in the first stage, and applications for the rest of the Greek regions began in May 2023 in the second stage. A total of 1,200 beneficiaries were included in the program in Attica, which is 20% over the foreseen number. Another 1,250 beneficiaries will be added gradually in the second stage. So far, a total of 1,620 trained PAs have been listed on a national registry, and another 650 will soon start training.

It is expected that the program will run fully and naturally with NSRF funds in 2025, while the pilot program's funding is included in the Recovery and Resilience Fund.

Beneficiaries must be aged 16-65 and certified as being 67% disabled or more. Once approved, applicants are entered into a lottery, and once selected, their case is reviewed by interdisciplinary committees. The pilot program vacancies have been oversubscribed by now.

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