Disability policy and disability law
The background against which disability policy is carried out has fundamentally changed in recent decades. Today, the human rights and equality approaches are at the forefront.
In 2008, Austria ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has set new benchmarks regarding the rights of people with disabilities. The EU is also pursuing the same approach in its current EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020.
In order to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Austria has adopted a comprehensive national strategy, the National Action Plan on Disability 2012–2020, which contains long-term disability policy objectives and measures.
The issue of disability is a cross-sectional topic: at federal level, the Ministry of Social Affairs is responsible for the coordination of matters related to disabilities, and in its own sphere of action it launches important initiatives for people with disabilities. The focus here is on participation in employment and on equality for people with disabilities.
Three main legal instruments are available to it in this work – the Disability Employment Act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz), the Federal Disability Act (Bundesbehindertengesetz) and the Disability Equality Act (Bundebehindertengleichstellungsgesetz).
The first point of contact for people with disabilities is the Sozialministeriumservice with its nine provincial offices in the provincial capitals. One of the main objectives of the Sozialministeriumservice is the integration of people with disabilities into working life.
However, many areas which are of great significance for people with disabilities are the responsibility of the provinces, such as the fields of accommodation and day structure (occupational therapy).
Information for people with disabilities
A general overview is provided by the German-language brochure Überblick – Über die Querschnittsmaterie "Behinderung" in Österreich.
To cover further-reaching issues in this context, the Ministry of Social Affairs has published a series of brochures entitled EIN:BLICK (in German).