Nepal’s disability allowance is one of five governmentrun social security allowance (SSA) schemes, and provides cash transfers to people with disabilities. It is part of the government’s approach to promote the inclusion and welfare of people with disabilities by adopting a set of policy instruments that protect their rights and also entitles them to a number of discounts and services. To receive the disability allowance and to access specialised and/or subsidised services, people with disabilities need to hold a disability identity card, which categorises individuals according to the severity of their disability. Only those holding a red or a blue disability identity card (denoting ‘complete’ and ‘severe’ disabilities, per the government categorisation) are eligible to receive the allowance.
The latest survey data available estimates that between 1.94% and 3.6% of the population in Nepal were living with some form of disability. However, the incidence of disability is thought to be much higher than this.
As of March 2017, 199,490 Nepali citizens held the 2016/17 disability identification card – which determines eligibility for specialised services and targeted programmes.
Still, it is estimated that 83% of individuals with disabilities (eligible adults and children) do not hold a disability card
Children with disabilities’ opportunities to access services are often restricted, despite policy provisions of specialised support. For example, illiteracy rates are high for children with disabilities (45% compared to 11% of children without disabilities), with many children with disabilities dropping out of non-specialised school, largely in rural areas, as a result of their disability.
Between 30% to almost 60% of beneficiaries holding cards and eligible for the allowance are not receiving it – requiring significant efforts to overcome the existing barriers they face (information, disability assessment, and application processes)