Funding at the workplace and place of training and mobility
In general, there are two forms of personal assistance
· Personal assistance at the workplace
· Personal assistance in day-to-day life
Personal assistance at the workplace
Personal assistance at the workplace covers, as needed, the following key services:
▪ accompaniment on the way between home and the workplace or place of training, including necessary routes in connection with childcare
▪ accompaniment during official obligations outside the workplace (e.g. attending events, business trips)
▪ accompaniment and support in obtaining or fulfilling contracts within the scope of self-employment (guideline for personal assistance at the workplace)
▪ support of a manual nature in the performance of professional activities or during the training period (e.g. filing of documents, photocopying); not however support of a substantive or technical nature
▪ assistance with personal hygiene during the period of service or training
▪ other help required as a result of disability (e.g. getting in and out of a vehicle, putting on/taking off a jacket, assistance with lunch).
Guideline for personal assistance
Who is entitled to personal assistance at the workplace?
Personal assistance at the workplace can only be claimed by persons with disabilities under the following conditions:
▪ the beneficiary of assistance, with the exception of the group of persons listed in sec 10 (4), is of working age
▪ the beneficiary has the necessary professional and personal qualifications for the profession practised or envisaged, and
▪ the beneficiary receives nursing allowance under the Federal Nursing Allowance Act (Bundespflegegeldgesetz, BPGG), Federal Law Gazette No 110/1993, nursing level 3 or higher
In addition to the above requirements, beneficiaries must
▪ have a valid employment contract subject to social security and be able to increase or at least maintain the quality of the work they perform with the help of personal assistance at the workplace, or avoid the threat of losing their job, or
▪ be self-employed and profit-oriented, or
▪ with the help of personal assistance at the workplace, be able to obtain a specific employment contract subject to social security, or be able to take up self-employment, or
▪ be able to complete a course of study or vocational training with the help of personal assistance at the workplace within the legally prescribed period plus the additional semesters granted under the provisions of the Studies Support Act (Studienförderungsgesetz 1992, StudFG), Federal Law Gazette No 305/1992, for continued receipt of student grants.
Personal assistance at the workplace can only be granted to natural persons for individual and personal support and must in any case be aimed at employment in the primary labour market within the framework of an employment contract subject to social security or at profit-oriented self-employment. This must be taken into account in particular for training and further training, studies and courses for job trials or job training, and for job seekers.
Other groups entitled to personal assistance at the workplace
· Job seekers – Job seekers may generally be granted personal assistance at the workplace for a maximum of 1 year, to the extent that it is tailored to their individual needs, if they can credibly prove that they are seriously and actively looking for a job (e.g. PES registration, PES appointments, letters of application, job interviews).
· Personal assistance at the workplace may also be granted for the duration of participation in labour market policy measures of the Public Employment Service or the Social Ministry service (e.g. PES course or SMS measure).
· Persons in marginal employment - Personal assistance at the workplace is basically aimed at an income that is fully subject to social security and that is above the annually fixed marginal earnings threshold pursuant to the General Social Security Act (Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz, ASVG), Federal Law Gazette No 189/1955 as amended. For marginal employment, however, personal assistance at the workplace may be granted if the purpose of taking up this marginal employment is to obtain an employment contract that is subject to full social security. Personal assistance at the workplace may be granted for up to 12 months for the purpose of trying out a job, but cannot be extended to cover marginal employment with the same employer before a further 24 months have expired. This must be expressly pointed out when personal assistance at the workplace is granted.
· Recipients of an invalidity, incapacity and disability pension may be granted personal assistance until they have reached the statutory retirement age for the purpose of employment and receipt of a partial pension they are entitled to in this case. The same applies by analogy to recipients of rehabilitation benefits or a retraining allowance.
· Recipients of an invalidity, incapacity and disability pension can only be granted personal assistance at the workplace for training and further training measures in exceptional cases if their disability makes retraining necessary and if long-term employment can realistically be expected following this retraining.
Beneficiaries of a retirement pension constitute a special case:
· Recipients of a pension such as old-age pension at statutory retirement age, early retirement pension with a long insurance period, or a corridor pension cannot be granted personal assistance at the workplace for any gainful employment if the amount of the monthly net benefit received exceeds the reference value pursuant to sec 293 of the General Social Security Act (ASVG), Federal Law Gazette No. 189/1955 as amended, by 30 percentage points.
If the work carried out is predominantly of a therapeutic nature, personal assistance at the workplace is not eligible for support, as funding for this group of persons qualifies as social rehabilitation, which is a responsibility of the laender, and does not meet the purposes of the employment offensive based on the Disabled Persons Employment Act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz, BEinstG), Federal Law Gazette I No. 22/1970 as amended.
Likewise, personal assistance at the workplace cannot be granted for voluntary work or for honorary activities or activities which, from a fiscal point of view, would constitute a hobby.
In this case, any funding would be attributed to personal assistance, which is the responsibility of other funding bodies, such as the laender. In borderline cases (distinction between hobby and self-employment), the persons concerned must present a conclusive concept showing how professional (re)integration is envisaged.
Personal assistance in day-to-day life
It is also possible to obtain personal assistance in day-to-day life, regardless of training or work. At present, people with disabilities who need personal assistance in the private sphere are confronted with extremely varying framework conditions in Austria. The type and extent of funding is regulated differently in the different laender.
The eligibility criteria and the type and scope of available benefits depend largely on the federal land in which a person requiring assistance services lives. In contrast, personal assistance at the workplace is regulated uniformly throughout Austria.
On 19 September 2019, a resolution was tabled in an extraordinary session of parliament with the aim of regulating personal assistance uniformly throughout Austria in the future. It is hoped that fundamental improvements will be created and implemented by law during the current legislative period.
Personal assistance in Vienna
In Vienna, personal assistance is funded via the nursing allowance supplement and by semi-assisted living.
How to apply
Another funding possibility for personal assistance during out-of-work time is an hourly quota via what is called semi-assisted living.