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Personal Assistance for Persons with Disabilities in Malta: The Status Quo and the Way Forward


Publication date
1 January 2024
Lara Bezzina
  • English
  • 2024


Personal assistance (PA) is a tool which allows for independent living. It is the decisive factor in ensuring that everyone’s right to live their life in the manner they want is being guaranteed. In Malta, Aġenzija Sapport is the national agency that provides subsidies for personal assistant services through the Independent Community Living (ICL) scheme. PA services in Malta, however, while providing support to many and supporting persons with disabilities to live independently, do not appear to meet the full needs of all persons with disabilities. There was thus a great need to explore the extent to which current services are enabling independent living in the community, as well as how these services could be improved. It is in this context that the current research study was commissioned by the Malta Federation of Organisations Persons with Disability (MFOPD).

The research findings indicate that the current ICL scheme is very consistent with the contextual needs of persons with certain types of disabilities, such as persons with multiple complex physical impairments. The majority of interviewees who fit this profile make use of a live-in PA and would otherwise be unable to live independently. The ICL scheme is also very relevant for, and meets the needs of – many adults and children with intellectual disabilities who are supported in activities of daily living, leisure activities, therapeutic follow-up (in the case of children) and, to a lesser extent, their studies. However, the ICL scheme is not reaching all persons with disabilities: despite publicity on various media, many interviewees were still unaware of the scheme. Factors contributing to this are misinformation (e.g. on the meaning of PA) and the inaccessibility of Aġenzija Sapport’s website. Furthermore, the reach of the ICL scheme is affected by the fact that persons with mental health difficulties are not eligible to apply. Another challenge encountered is the mindset of many legal guardians of adults with intellectual disabilities, who – rather than engage a PA to support their child in having control over their life – prefer to continue taking care of their child until they are unable to do so anymore.

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13 JUNE 2024
Personal Assistance for Persons with Disabilities in Malta: The Status Quo and the Way Forward