The disabled are upset with the Welfare Department for suspending their monthly disabled workers allowance (EPC) without any proper notice since Dec.

The RM300 aid is given to employed disabled people earning less than RM1,200 a month.

Fearing repercussions, many of the disabled people who aired their grouses to FMT wished to remain anonymous.

According to one of them, who is self-employed, he had gone to the Federal Territories Department to check on the matter when he did not receive the money.

“They said it was because I did not submit any letters confirming my employment since 1993,” added the 40-year-old wheelchair-bound individual, whose wife is also disabled.

He said an officer claimed that without any proof of his employment, the deparment could not determine if the money was taken by him or others.

“It was illogical for them to say that. The bank requires my thumbprint on some forms before I can withdraw the money. So who is going to fake my thumbrint?” he said.

After submitting his documents two weeks ago, the department promised that the oustanding payment would be credited into his account in two months.

“They should have notified us properly, instead of just stopping the payment. Many of us are dependent on this aid,” he said.

Another recipient, a visually impaired father, also saw red over the matter, saying that he was finding it difficult to make ends meet.

The 48-year-old masseur, whose wife was also visually impaired, said the couple relied on both their allowances to settle their utility bills.

“I haven’t paid my electricity and water bills. I need to buy books and stationery for my son who is in school. Now everything is stuck.

“They think just because we are disabled, they can do anything to us, and we won’t complain. We are not beggars, but we need the money to run our families. We are not rich,” he said.

“Perhaps they are using the money for the Tenang by-election,” he added.

Proper notification should have been given

Commenting on the matter, Independent Living and Training Centre president Francis Siva said his organisation had met with Federal Territories Welfare Department officers last year to iron out several issues.

Among them being the Welfare Department redirecting the funds to the Treasury if the recipient did not collect it within 10 days.

“However, we argued that not everyone can take the money out on time especially those who are bed-ridden,” he said.

Siva added that the officials then promised that the money would not be taken out but now this issue had cropped up.

He also condemned the Welfare Department for only allocating RM150 for disabled people who could not work.

“The working ones get RM300 but those who cannot work only get RM150. Something is wrong with their mindset,” he said.

Siva said that more aid should be given to those who cannot work, especially those who were bed-ridden, as the latter normally required additional medical assistance.

“They need to purchase food, medicine, diapers and other things. Without money, many disabled people are driven to commit suicide,” said Siva, who himself had friends who took their own lives.

Meanwhile, Damai Disabled Persons Association president V Murugeswaran said that the authorities should have informed the recipients first before suspending the aid for whatever reason.

“If the officials are conducting some checks, they have an obligation to inform the recipients first at least a month earlier,” he told FMT.



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