Demonstrators say they can't make ends meet

People with disabilities in Sulaymaniyah protest for increase in monthly benefits

SULAYMANIYAH — People with disabilities in Sulaymaniyah rallied on Tuesday at Sara Square, demanding an increase in their monthly government benefits.

Protesters, organized by the Union of People with Disabilities in Sulaymaniyah, say their current stipends are insufficient to cover basic needs. They are also calling for benefits in the Kurdistan Region to match those offered in the rest of Iraq.

“Our problems and challenges are many,” said Shukria Ahmed, a protester with a disabled daughter. “We want our benefits to be the same as Baghdad. Are we worth less than them?”

Currently, people with disabilities in Sulaymaniyah who are unable to work receive 150,000 dinars ($115) each month. Those with other income streams receive 100,000 dinars ($76).

“One cannot live on this amount, especially with additional family members who are also disabled,” Ahmed added, highlighting the challenges faced by her 14-year-old daughter who requires diapers and specialized transportation.

Demonstrators are demanding an increase to 250,000 dinars ($191), which is the standard benefit across Iraqi governorates under federal administration.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister of Social Affairs Kwestan Mohamad Abdulla Maarouf chaired a meeting on April 23 focused on the status of individuals with disabilities.

Hawraz Abdulqader, director of the Social Protection Network within the ministry, told 964media then that officials had not received any official request concerning the alignment of benefits with the rest of Iraq.

Abdulqader said the ministry would “review their concerns and issues.”

There are an estimated 75,000 registered individuals with disabilities in the Kurdistan Region, according to Abdulqader. The last benefit distribution occurred on March 30 for February payments. Protesters say they have not yet received their April stipends.

Payment delays are expected to further exacerbate complaints. In March, one woman told 964media her 100,000 dinar payment did not cover medication costs, while another man using a wheelchair sarcastically remarked the sum was so large he needed a truck to transport it home.

Sulaymaniyah funds 240 housing units to people with disabilities

Sulaymaniyah funds 240 housing units to people with disabilities

Sulaymaniyah residents with disabilities face unexpected deductions

Sulaymaniyah residents with disabilities face unexpected deductions