IQ-related care needs difficult to establish, says government body

Cabinet plans to limit special care services to people with an IQ of below 70 will lead to thousands of people being denied services they need, the government’s socio-cultural planning agency SCP said in a new report on Thursday.

The government is planning to exclude people with a light mental handicap from sheltered housing or day care as part of its spending cuts. The aim of the measure is to save €250m a year.
But the SCP says IQ is difficult to measure accurately, and care should be based on individual needs not intelligence. The agency says 33,000 people will be affected by the measures and forced to turn to social workers or local health boards for help instead.
In 2009, 164,000 people were helped through the AWBZ insurance scheme because of their mental handicap, double the 1998 figure. The increase is almost entirely due to people with a light handicap.
According to the SCP, some of the increase is due to the specific policy of targeting those with an IQ above 50. ‘But people with a mental handicap may need help more often because society has become more demanding,’ the SCP report said. For example, neighbours and family may be less willing to help out.

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