Posted Jul 21, 2022, 6:30 AM
Associations for the defense of disabled people are on the right track. On Wednesday, the Assembly was to accede to one of their long-standing demands by approving a revision of the method of calculating the allowance for disabled adults (AAH).
As part of the first reading of the bill on purchasing power, the deputies had to decide that this financial assistance should no longer be calculated taking into account household income.
Increase of 300 euros
The measure was defended by deputies from all political groups. It must prevent a disabled person from seeing his allowance drop or disappear altogether, if his income, added to that of his spouse, exceeds a certain ceiling. Amounting to up to 920 euros per month, the AAH now benefits more than 1.2 million people.
With the reform, “nearly 160,000 couple households would thus see their amount of AAH increase by 300 euros on average”, underlines the amendment of the deputy Charlotte Parmentier-Lecocq (Renaissance) which was to be debated on Wednesday to record the “deconjugation from the AAH. This provides that the new system will be implemented “no later than October 1, 2023”.
Promised by the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, during her general policy speech before the Assembly at the beginning of July, “deconjugation” has returned several times to Parliament in recent years and was even invited into the debates of the presidential campaign.
Defenders of the measure argue that it should guarantee the financial independence of people with disabilities living as a couple. It would also be a question of preventing disabled people from giving up being officially in a couple to be sure of maintaining the level of their allowance.
During the previous five-year term, the government and its majority had shown themselves to be unfavorable to changing the method of calculating the allowance to which the State devotes some 12 billion euros per year.
Notably because “deconjugation” calls into question the principle of attaching social benefits to the home. A principle which must guarantee that social aid benefits those who need it most. The executive then feared that the individualization of the AAH would open the way to an overhaul of the calculation of other benefits (APL, RSA etc.).
The risk of making losers
The overhaul of the AAH calculation method also risked making losers whose number is estimated between 45,000 and 50,000. These include disabled people working and living in a couple with a person who has zero or low income. As such, these people benefit from a higher allowance than if they lived alone.
To prevent these beneficiaries from losing out, the government has promised, through the voice of the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, to implement a “transitional device”. The amendment proposed by MP Charlotte Parmentier-Lecocq (Renaissance) on the subject details it.
On the date of entry into force of the “deconjugation”, the beneficiaries of the AAH could choose to continue to receive the allowance according to the old method of calculation if it is more favorable to them. This benefit would be open to them until the expiry of their rights. It will then be up to the family allowance funds to determine which scheme is most favorable to each beneficiary.
The new method of calculating the AAH would cost more than 400 million, to which 160 million would have to be added to finance the transitional system, according to the statistics department of the health and social ministries (the DREES).