FM/CFS/ME RESOURCES - French Disability Benefits


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In 2002, the President announced the decision to make the integration of people with disabilities one of the "big three" of his yards quinquennium-an ambition which is part of a desire to "strengthen our national cohesion by more justice and therefore more attention to the most vulnerable."

Three years later, on Feb. 11, 2005, the law establishes disability notable advances for personal responsibility and overall handicap.

The Disability Act lays down the principle of a new right for you, the "right to compensation" of your disability, whatever the origin of your shortcomings, your age or your lifestyle.

The law seeks to take into account the needs, expectations and choices of life of the disabled person, proposing, after evaluation of the needs and aspirations of everyone, benefits and aid adapted and customized.

The law puts in place the benefit of disability compensation (PCH) which includes aid of any kind, as determined by the needs and draft life of the disabled person without means test.

This service compensation is defined in terms of "personal plan of compensation," defined by the multidisciplinary team of departmental Houses of people with disabilities as a result of a dialogue with the disabled person and his family. Ce plan peut comprendre des mesures diverses, aides individuelles, hébergement, logement adapté, scolarisation, orientation professionnelle, etc. The plan may include a variety of measures: individual aid, shelter, accommodation, schooling, vocational guidance, and so on.

This page provides the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about French Disability Benefits. Click on the questions below to learn the answers. Contact us if you have any questions.

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What is the Departmental Office for People with Disabilities (MDPH)?

ANSWER: Created by the Act of February 11, 2005, MDPH is the unique place of welcome and support, the unique access entitlements and benefits set up for people with disabilities and their families. The MDPH is a unique address, near you, your steps to facilitate and help you cope with the disability.

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What Happens To Teams COTOREP, CDES, and SVA?

ANSWER: The MDPH together, under the aegis of General Councils, all the powers currently involved in the support of disabled people: teams of the Technical Committees guidance and retraining (COTOREP), departmental committees of special education (CDES) and Sites for Independent Living (SVA).

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Who Qualifies For French Disability Benefits?

ANSWER: Certain conditions must be met in order to receive the French disability benefits, the AAH or Allocation Aux Adultes Handicapés.

You must live in France full time and be either:

  • French
  • An EU citizen or the family member (spouse/child) of an EU citizen
  • Non-EU but completely legal resident and registered in France

Your degree of incapacity must be at least 80%, or if it is less, you have to be recognized as unable to work. If your disability is less than 80%, then you must be under the age of 60 when you apply for this benefit.

Your degree of disability must be evaluated by COTOREP (Commission Technique d'Orientation et de Reclassement Professionnel) who will also agree and state:

  • your right to, and length of the payment, of this benefit
  • the availability of benefit for a third person
  • the availability of an "invalid" card
  • the admission to a specialized centre or a work centre for disabled persons - MAS (Maison d'Accueil Spécialisée) or CAT (Centre d'Aide par le Travail).
  • the availability of free pension contributions for the carer of the person with disabilities

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How Much Will I Receive?

ANSWER: The amount (as of 30/05/06)

  • The maximum benefit currently issued is €610.28 (see the government web site Service-Public)

You will receive this amount if your income is under the fixed limit. If your income is even a little more than that limit, your benefit will be reduced. If you receive a pension or other income you will receive the difference between the amount of that income and the maximum benefit allowed.

For rates on family allowance, adoption allowance, parental leave allowance, housing benefits, single parent allowance, benefits for handicapped adults and children and also information on the RMI, (Revenu Minimum d'Insertion) see: CAF Actunationale.

Since 11 February 2005 two supplements exist for the disabled who meet certain conditions. An extra benefit can be paid to those who choose to live in independent accommodation in order to help them to pay for the extra expenses of adapting their home.

On the 1 January 2006 this benefit was fixed at €101.80 and will be paid on the following conditions if the person:

  • has at least 80% disability
  • receives the full AAH (Allocation Adultes Handicapés) allowance
  • receives housing benefits
  • does not earn any income

A benefit of €166.51 can be paid to compensate the absence of income for those in the incapacity to work. This is paid on the following conditions if the person:

  • has at least 80% disability
  • receives the full AAH (Allocation Adultes Handicapés) allowance
  • has independent accommodation
  • has received no income from work for more than a year and is not about to start a job
  • whose capacity to work is recognized as less than 5%

Note: These two benefits can not be combined.

Be aware that if you are hospitalized or admitted to an MAS or CAT your benefits will be reduced. A supplement for this benefit can be paid on the following conditions. If the person:

  • has at least 80% disability
  • receive the full AAH (Allocation Adultes Handicapés) allowance
  • have reduced benefit with pension advantages
  • have a work accident benefit

The amount will be worked out for each individual situation.

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How Is The Disability Pension Calculated?

ANSWER: The amount of disability pension is calculated on the basis of average earnings, which takes into account the best 10 years' salary. It is a function of group disability which the person, as it continues or not to have a job and whether she needed a third person.

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How Do I Apply?

ANSWER: Request the application form for the AAH at the COTOREP offices, from your CAF (Caisse d'Allocations Familiales) or from a social worker (assistante sociale) and send it to COTOREP. Your allowance, if you are eligible, will start from the month that follows your application.

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What Other Rights Do I Have?

ANSWER: If you receive the AAH you also have rights to maternity allowances if required. You will also be exempt from the local taxes (taxe d'habitation). Those receiving the AAH and other extra allowances are exempt from income tax.

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Who Is Responsible For The Allocation of Aid And Benefits?

ANSWER: The Commission on Human Rights and the independence of people with disabilities, in the Departmental Office for People with Disabilities (MDPH), is now in charge of allocating all the services and assistance. The disability are members of this Commission by which the person concerned or his representative may be heard.

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What Happens In Case of Hospitalization, Medical Accommodation Structure, or Incarceration?

ANSWER: In the event of hospitalization, residential accommodation social or medical rehabilitation, or pre-vocational retraining, or incarceration in a penal institution for more than 60 days, payment of additional resources or the supplement for living is suspended. The disabled person retains 30% of adult disability allowance.

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Are Guide Dogs Covered By The Provision of Compensation?

ANSWER: The charges corresponding to a guide dog or a dog for assistance are taken into account by the provision if the dog was educated in a structure label and by qualified educators.

Dogs given to people with disabilities before January 1, 2006 are presumed to meet these conditions.

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French Social Security Organizations

Note: French Social Security rules differ in the Alsace-Moselle regions. This information below does not apply.

The contributions or cotisations you and your employers pay from your salary/earnings are called:

  • CSG - Cotisation Sociale Genèralisé
  • CRDS - Contribution au Remboursement de la Dette Sociale
  • AF - Allocations Familiales

These contributions go to pay for the social security national organization, which is composed of the following:

CPAM - Caisse Primaire d'Assurances Maladie
This is the body that deals with anything medical - doctors and dentists, hospitalization, pregnancy, accidents at work, death and so forth. When you have your social security number from this organization you are entitled to full social security benefits. Your contributions are paid each month to CPAM, giving you social security cover.

CAF - Caisse d'Allocations Familiales
This is the local body that deals with all things related to the allowances and benefits to which we are all entitled, including family allowance, rent allowance, single parent allowance and so forth. The CAF main offices of the Alpes-Maritimes, where all the records are dealt with, are in Nice, Cannes and Antibes, but the public can also visit offices in Grasse and Menton for information. The main Var office is in Toulon, with offices in Draguignan, Fréjus, Brignoles and Hyères.

Carte Vitale
This green coloured card is given to you (sometimes you must ask for it) when you receive your social security number and replaces the old prescription, which is however still in use in some situations. You pay your medical practitioner who registers your payment with the card which sets the reimbursement process into action. Equally you can use the Carte Vitale in laboratories, pharmacies and other medical situations.

Note: Not all medications are reimbursed - your medical practitioner can advise you.

You need to update your card regularly every six months, which you can do in the machines made especially for this purpose in mairies, hospitals, and the CPAM offices. You need to do this at least twice a year, and when you change address or when other family members are added. To update your card, place it in the machine and press mise à jour (update).

Caisse de Retraite
This is the organization that looks after your retirement pension. You are allocated this Caisse according to your profession. If you are self-employed you are given a choice, but it is still obligatory.

URSSAF, the Union de Recouvrement des cotisations de la Sécurité Sociale et d'Allocations Familiales is the body that looks after self-employed people. It is to them that you apply when you want to be a travailleur independent. URSSAF collect your social security contributions and you are attributed a CAF according to your profession entitling you to family allowance and so forth. As a self-employed person you do not depend on the local CPAM, you are allocated an organization related to your profession, but this functions in exactly the same way as a CPAM.

Assistante Sociale - Social Worker
Assistantes Sociales are there to help with any problem or need for information relating to Social Security benefits and other social affairs that involve family members. They will tell you what to do or what paperwork is needed to claim allowances and put this to the appropriate people, advise on what you should do in case of divorce, child abuse, financial difficulties and so forth. They can be contacted via your local mairie. Most mairies have set times when you can see an Assistante Sociale, no appointments are necessary, normally you wait your turn.

Assurance Mutuelle or Top up insurance
The obligatory social security pays up to 70% of your medical costs, and 100% for pregnancy and in other specific circumstances. To ensure that you are covered for the 30% that you have to pay, you can buy a mutuelle, or compliment insurance from any insurance broker. This is a nationally recognized scheme and works very well with the Social Security. Prices vary according to the company, so it is always best to shop around. You can have 100% cover, or 150% or more if you choose. This basically means that the percentage that the doctor or dentist charges over and above the official limit will be reimbursed. There are various schemes available giving different benefits for different needs, and this needs to be carefully chosen with your insurance broker.

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What's The Role Of The Commission On Human Rights And The Independence Of People with Disabilities?

ANSWER: The Committee on the Rights of the independence of people with disabilities (CDAPH) is the new body responsible decisions for the allocation of benefits and counseling. It replaces the Departmental Committee of Special Education (CDES) and the technical guidance and retraining (Cotorep). Within the MDPH, CDAPH takes all decisions on aid and benefits - after assessing needs and formulating the plan customized compensation by the evaluation team. The CDAPH is responsible decisions for all aid offered (Provision of compensation, AEEH (ex-AES), AAH, maps disability or priority, etc.). Namely: decisions taken previously by the CDES Cotorep and remain valid until their scheduled completion. If you apply for compensation benefits before July 1, 2006, it will be paid retroactively, justifying your expenses since January 1, 2006.

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What Are The Main Measures Of The Law Relating To Housing?

ANSWER: In regard to housing, the objective of the law is to enable people with disabilities to be provided with suitable accommodation and to be received at others. The law makes it mandatory to access housing, public and private, regardless of the type of disability considered, except for homeowners building or improving a home for their own use. The procedures relating to accessibility for people with disabilities, which must comply with the buildings or parts of buildings are set by the new decrees. They say the procedures applicable to the construction of houses. The measures put in accessibility of housing are evaluated within a period of 3 years from the publication of the law.

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Does The Law Allow Access to Holiday For People With Disabilities?

ANSWER: The Act establishes an approval "organized" holiday tailored to ensure disabled persons and their families guarantees on the quality of reception in some structures dedicated.

This agreement relates to natural or legal persons who hold or are organizing activities holiday, with accommodation for a period longer than 5 days, aimed specifically at groups of people with disabilities major. It is granted by the regional prefects (instructed by the DRASS). A statement must be made before each stay at prefect of the department of hospitality and the monitoring of conditions of stay are performed by inspectors from health and social affairs and public health doctors in each DDASS.

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