The socio-economic barriers faced by
persons with disabilities (PWDs) often result in increased expenses compared to
individuals without disabilities.
A 2022 report
by UNICEF Philippines estimates that the cost of
raising a child with disabilities is 40 to 80% higher than the cost for
children without disabilities. This expense becomes especially challenging for
households below the poverty line.
“For many Filipino families, remittances
hold the key to a better future. As they’re guaranteed to increase the
financial and social mobility of a household, they can also augment the
additional costs that may come with caring for a family member with a disability
or special needs,” said Earl Melivo, Head of
Asia Pacific at WorldRemit.
For Leo*, an OFW for 15 years and a father
of six, he does his best to work hard for each child. When caring for his
eldest daughter who has a learning disability, he mentioned that most of his
dedicated remittances goes into her healthcare.
din kami ng malaking halaga para habang lumalaki siya, lumalago din ang bahay,
kayang ma-accommodate yung kanyang
mga pangangailangan,” he also said.
(We also spend a large amount on necessary
improvements at home so her needs are accommodated while they’re growing up.)
Health expenditures were identified as the
main source of extra costs in PWD households, amounting to almost three times
more than spending in other households. A study by the
Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) found that PWD households
spend an average of P15,225.66 yearly on healthcare alone.
Other common costs went to education and
transportation if the child was enrolled in school. However, in the Philippines
where social services and policies for PWDs are severely limited, families like
Leo’s may incur even more expenses.
As a result, he makes it a point to
constantly send money home for his daughter’s medication, among other expenses.
“Dahil medyo mahirap lang kami, hindi na
namin siya naparehistro as PWD. Wala kaming benefits na nakukuha. Dito sa probinsya, wala namang budget sa mga ganyan ang LGU namin,” he said.
(We are not well off, so we haven’t had the
chance to register her as a PWD. We don’t get any benefits, especially in the
province where the local government doesn’t have a fund for PWDs.)
With all the challenges that come with
caring for a PWD, Leo values his bond with his family the most. Besides
constantly communicating with his wife as they raise their family together, he
looks forward to spending time and talking personally with his daughter when he
“Kailangan lang ng kaunting pasensya at maraming pagmamahal (They just need a bit of patience and lots of love),” he said.
Leo also reminded fellow OFW parents of how
important their efforts and sacrifices are to their family, and that their PWD
children experience better lives because of them.
WorldRemit advocates for financial
inclusion to help champion more PWDs and their families.
"We believe that every individual,
regardless of their abilities, deserves equal opportunities in life. This starts
with more equitable access to essential resources. Since you don’t need to go
far and visit physical stores for digital remittances, it’s one of many ways we
can innovate our platforms to be more inclusive of PWDs,” Melivo said.
An inclusive society requires a collective
effort. WorldRemit continues to stand with PWDs by providing a reliable and
accessible way for OFWs to support their loved ones with special needs.
*Name has been changed for confidentiality.