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Jurgen Bast
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Anna Katharina von Oettingen 

Disability Law in Germany: An Overview on Employment, Education and Access

By Martin Kock
Read the Full Contribution as a PDF

A. Introduction

I. General Information

  Under German law, people with disabilities are entitled to help and assistance in order to avert, eliminate or improve their disability. The general goal is to overcome, as much as possible, the disability's effects and to enable the disabled to participate in all areas of society, especially in the labor market and in community life. The Federal Government is obliged to a barrier-free design and construction of public buildings, streets, etc. and to provide barrier-free access to communication, especially in the field of administrative Internet sites, official forms and notifications. In the area of public transportation, all facilities and means of transportation (bus, train, aircraft) are also required to be barrier-free. The same applies to restaurants.

  Severely disabled people enjoy special employment protection rights, additional allowances and benefits, such as tax relief, free public transport, and exemption from radio and television fees.

II. Legal Sources for Disabled Rights

  The basic laws that provide rights and benefits for disabled people include:

- Neuntes Buch des Sozialgesetzbuches - SGB IX (Book 9 of the Social Code)

- Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz - BGG(Equal Opportunities for Disabled People Act)

  Both laws implement the general principle, established by the German Constitution, that no person may be discriminated against because of his or her disability. Furthermore, these laws also have the goal of enabling all disabled people and their families to live a life that is as normal as possible, especially by promoting equal participation in all areas of life.

1. Neuntes Buch des Sozialgesetzbuches

  The Neuntes Buch des Sozialgesetzbuches provides that disabled people receive special benefits in order to live a self-determined life, to have equal participation opportunities in society and to avoid or counteract any discrimination. In addition, the special needs of disabled women and children are taken into account. The benefits particularly include:

- medical rehabilitation benefits;

- benefits aimed at participation in life at work; and

- benefits aimed at participation in community life.

2. Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz

  The purpose of the...