Labor Minister Andrea Nahles, whose department conceived the bill, welcomed the new law as a "big, courageous step and nothing less than a system change" as well as part of a "series of important political milestones on the way to an inclusive society." The opposition Left party, meanwhile, was less than enthusiastic, describing the new law as no more than a "beginning" that failed to live up to Nahles' promise to help people with disabilities to engage in the job market.
Too much of the law, said Left party parliamentary leader Dietmar Bartsch, would leave seriously disabled people at risk of "being stuck in a home." The dream of self-determination The law could potentially have a major impact: some 10.2 million Germans (more than 10 percent of the population) live with some form of disability, of which 7.5 million are categorized as "seriously disabled." Designed to implement the United Nations' 2008 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the point of the law was to re-organize disability benefits in a way that aids self-determination.
The other parts will enter into force on January 1 of 2018, 2020, and 2023 respectively. ( Until the amendment, people with disabilities who needed services from different providers were faced with long delays, jurisdictional disputes over which agency was in charge, and unnecessary repeat evaluations.
Similarly, disability benefits will be granted regardless of where an individual chooses to live - until now, people with certain disabilities could only receive financial support if they lived in a care home.
Up until now, the system left many disabled people worse off than those on unemployment benefits.
Now, seriously disabled people will be allowed to keep a considerably bigger personal fortune and still be eligible for benefits - 25,000 euros (,600), and going up to 50,000 euros by 2020 - and a partner's income will no longer be taken as a factor.
"If you go to an administration, they say: this is a problem - oh, we have this institution and the problem is solved.
It's much harder to find ways for people to live independently in the community." While the sports world celebrates the skills of disabled athletes at the Paralympics, the art world is following suit.