This is the views of the political parties of the Parliament and the Feminist Initiative, F! on the living conditions for newcomers with non-normative abilities.
All eight of the political parties of the Parliament and F! have responded to the survey while the Social Democrats had State Secretary Anders Kessling participating, together with the Centre Party’s spokesperson on migration issues, Johanna Jönsson, in a panel dialogue. See video of the panel dialogue here.
On the question about knowledge of the situation for newcomers with non-normative abilities, all the political parties of the Alliance answered that they have good knowledge of the situation for newcomers with non-normative abilities. While V, SD, F! and MP want to know more.
Concerning the question about what the parties believe is most important for newcomers with non-normative abilities, M responds that it is essential for newcomers with non-normative abilities to get legally secure and predictable decisions on support. L believes it is important to provide newcomers with non-normative abilities explicit information on Swedish norms in a language they are familiar with. C wants to make sure newcomers with non-normative abilities get good support as pre-conditions to live a meaningful life and if possible get a job. SD, however, believes that it is most important that individuals get the most basic support to function in everyday life.
MP and F! believe that it is most important not to treat newcomers with non-normative abilities differently. F! also perceives it as important to provide extra support with learning Swedish, Braille, easy-to-read Swedish, Swedish sign language, and have access to material on various media. KD thinks it is essential to, as fast as possible, determine what support is needed based on the individual’s situation. All newcomers shall participate in social orientation to learn how things work in Sweden and how to avail yourself of existing support.
On the question about increasing rights to social insurance benefits for newcomers with non-normative abilities, all political parties of the Parliament except V answer that they do not want to expand rights to social insurance benefits for newcomers with non-normative abilities. The rationale behind these parties’ response is that everybody that is permanently residing and registered in Sweden, including newcomers, shall have the same rights and obligations.
V and F! answered yes to the question about increased social insurance benefits for newcomers with non-normative abilities, so asylum seekers that have not received a decision on their application for a residence permit shall have rights to these benefits.
On the question about limiting the rights to social insurance benefits for disabled newcomers, the governing parties answered ”no”. While L, C, M answered ”yes”, and SD responded that certain economic benefits must be tied to Swedish citizenship.
M suggests that a new framework is needed, that includes criteria for qualifying into the social security system; employment or permanent and legal residency in Sweden must be a pre-condition for Swedish benefits and entitlements. C and L want to remove the exception for refugees to the guarantee-pension as well as sickness benefits and activities compensation. C and L mean that this exception makes the rules more favourable for newcomers with or without non-normative abilities.
On the question about how, limiting the social insurance benefits for newcomers with non-normative abilities, would affect Sweden, M answers that Swedish citizens must perceive their social insurance system as legitimate, sustainable from a social and economic perspective. The basis to partake in this must be a qualification into the system through employment. L responds that it must always be worthwhile to work, the basic support cannot be so high that it does not stimulate people to work and not so low that you cannot live on it. C says they do not want to see limitations directed to the needs of this specific group but are to a higher degree open to implementing the principle of qualifying into the welfare system through employment for newcomers as a whole. KD thinks the same rules shall be applied to everybody residing in Sweden. SD means it depends on which benefits.
V responds that the right to support for disabled people is individual and should not be tied to legal status, but the right to live your life and fully participate in the community with equal opportunities irrespective of impairment. Sweden would be a poorer and less humane country if social insurance benefits got limited. MP views restrictions as hampering the integration of newcomers which in the long run becomes negative for Sweden as a country. F! means that Sweden would be in breach of the UN Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities which Sweden has signed.
On the question of how limiting social insurance benefits would affect newcomers with non-normative abilities that are children, SD responds that it can cause significant problems with integration. F!, V, MP similarly highlight hampering of integration but also a breach against the demand for non-discrimination, the child’s right to self-determination and right to life and development in the Convention of the Child. C, L and KD view children’s rights as self-evident in Sweden irrespective of whether they are newcomers or not. However, M responds that the financing of our welfare system by Swedish citizens demands the protection of its perceived legitimacy otherwise Sweden risk losing our ”generous welfare state”.
On the question about what consequences limiting social insurance benefits will have on newcomers that are children and have custodians with non-normative abilities, M responds that the basic universal security system in Sweden includes access to a range of benefits while V states that limiting these benefits risk worsening the living standards for both the custodian and the child.
SD answers that it is okay if newcomers that are parents also get the support needed to take parental responsibility and manage everyday life. Fi and MP answer that the living standard of the children would be adversely affected. KD states that they do not propose any limitations and that they protect the children by strengthening the economy of families with children through for example raised housing allowance and tax reductions for parents. C and L mention the right to a meaningful life with equal opportunities and refer this back to employment as the key to better integration and meaningful life for children and their custodians.
On the question, if the right to personal assistance is important for disabled newcomers, V states that the right to personal assistance is important for all who needs this. Fi answers that it is as important as it is for others who have personal assistance. The rest of the parties think the right to personal assistance is important irrespective of background.
The parties differ in their view on who shall get access to personal assistance. L for example says personal assistance is important for everybody with extensive impairments, while C says that those who have a Swedish residence permit, irrespective of non-normative abilities or not, have a right to self-determination and an independent life and that the legal framework to LSS shall apply to these as it does for others with the same needs. KD thinks it is important to protect the right to personal assistance for everybody residing in Sweden. SD answers that the right to personal assistance is important so that disabled people can have an independent life, but they have not decided whether to differentiate or not between newcomers and Swedish citizens concerning LSS.
On the question how limiting social insurance benefits would affect the integration of newcomers with non-normative abilities, M answers that newcomers in Sweden shall be met with clear demands, receive the support necessary to build a future here. SD responds that it is important to create opportunities also for disabled newcomers to be able to work as other newcomers. L think the principle that it always shall be worthwhile to work support integration and this goes for newcomers as well as long-term residents in Sweden. C means that employment is the key to integration that the same rules should apply for disabled newcomers that might not be able to work as for those living here with the same needs. KD answers that it varies from person to person, and which benefit that is limited.
The response from V, F! and MP put the focus on severe and negative consequences for integration due to people needing security and good living conditions to achieve a successful integration. It would be a breach of the Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities which Sweden has signed and a change in the Swedish democracy.
On the question of how limiting social insurance benefits affects democracy and individuals’ rights to a self-determined life, F! answers that it has a severe effect. F! means that to be able to work, care for children and do all the necessary daily things support in everyday life is needed. There is a high risk that poor mental health, due to for example being displaced, gets worse. V believes that the existing relatively extensive social insurance benefits are an important part in individuals’ possibilities to fully participate in the community on equal opportunities. If these are limited, individuals’ possibilities of participation and self-determination are hampered.
MP answers that it would have an adverse effect, while C admit that their proposal is aimed at making the frameworks equal for all and that it would not affect individuals’ self-determination or democracy. KD answers that it varies from individual to individual depending on which benefit is limited. While L responds that “everyone shall have the basic security of a reasonable standard of living, but it must not be so high that it takes away the incentive to work, which is a delicate balancing act! Working has to be worthwhile.”
When it concerns working against limiting social insurance benefits for disabled refugees at EU level, all the parties answer No except SD who answers that ”it depends on what type of benefit, but a general limitation at the EU level is not something we have decided on.”