Wednesday 25 May 2022

Questions over state-funded sex care for people with a disability in Amsterdam


Questions have been raised in Amsterdam city council after a man with a form of muscular dystrophy has apparently been refused state-funded ‘sex care’ recommended by his doctors.

Yassmine el Ksaihi, D66 councillor and spokeswoman on poverty and participation, said that she had been forwarded a letter from an Amsterdammer told that ‘sex care’ would no longer be refunded by the council, through the GGD public health institute.

‘We received a letter saying that the man had been refunded through the special welfare fund [in the past],’ she told

‘My view is that sex is a basic necessity of life, also for people with a disability, and if they cannot pay for it, it should be refunded. If something has changed [in the policy], then we have an opinion about it.’

Sex care, or sekszorg in Dutch, refers to sexual services provided to people with severe physical or mental disabilities, and can be provided by professionals with a health care background. According to a Nieuwsuur investigation in 2013, different local councils have different policies on whether it is covered by the state. In Amsterdam, said El Ksaihi, it has previously been possible to request money from a ‘special welfare’ fund known as bijzondere bijstand.

She has asked the mayor and deputy mayors a series of formal questions about whether sex care is no longer being funded by Amsterdam, how many people have been using the benefit and how many have accessed it through the special welfare fund.

‘D66 has heard from a person with a severe muscular disease (LGMD), who, despite recommendations from his GP and rehabilitation doctor, has been told by the public health institute that sex care will no longer be reimbursed, while this person would benefit enormously according to the doctors,’ the official questions begin, pointing out that the man’s health means he cannot work.

El Ksaihi told that any policy changes should have been discussed with councillors. ‘We didn’t know anything about this so we have asked whether something has changed,’ she said. ‘As far as I know, if you are on benefits, it can be refunded once your income has been taken into account – but we have been informed that someone who used to have [sex care] funded has been told it will not be covered by the special welfare fund and must pay for it himself.

‘This is very specific care, and expensive care, and someone on benefits can’t pay for it on a minimum income. I’m curious about whether something has gone wrong or if the policy has changed.’ has asked the Amsterdam city council press office for a comment on this case and the current policy.

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