Social Welfare Policies for People with Disabilities in Vietnam and South Korea

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2016

33 Pages





1. Introduction

2. Current population trend of people with disabilities
2.1. People with disabilities in South Korean
2.2. People with disabilities in Vietnam

3 . Related welfare laws for people with disabilities
3.1. Related welfare laws for people with disabilities in South Korea
3.2. Related welfare laws for people with disabilities in Vietnam

4. Welfare policies for people with disabilities
4.1. Welfare policies for people with disability: South Korea’s case
4.2. Welfare policies for people with disability: Vietnam’s case
4.2.1. Disability allowance
4.2.2. Education
4.2.3. Vocational training and employment
4.2.4. Health care
4.2.5. Social supports and social assistance
4.2.6. Cultural and sport activities
4.2.7. Transportation and public accessibility

5. Conclusions

6. Acknowledgement:

7. References


Since the United Nations' Convention on the rights for disabled people approved in 2006, the understanding of disability and supports for people with disabilities wordwide have been changed and progressed sustainably. That includes the changes in theoretical debates and welfare policy on disability to encourage society to understand and treat people with disability as other citizens. However, people with disabilities in Vietnam and Korea still experienced the difficulties and need further supports. This paper looks and compares the welfare initiatives in Vietnam and South Korea on supporting the people with disabilities in order to articulate some of implicit values of welfare practices for people with disabilities in these contexts and to make the experiences to each other.


Disability; Welfare Policies; Vietnam; South Korea; Social Policy; Legislation

1. Introduction

Recently disabled people are the most vulnerable and poor people in the society compare to non-disabled persons. They experience discrimination, disadvantages in their daily life due to bad attitude/beliefs toward them. People with disability (PWD) have poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities (WHO 2011). Unlike in the past, nowadays in many countries, PWD have specifically insurance policy systems such as health, education, employment, etc. established by the government for the purpose of improving their living standard. Recently South Korea is one of the richest countries in the World, however for the past 50 years it was one of the poorest countries. Through that period the government worked hard to improve both its economy and also welfare for its people including both disabled and non-disabled persons. This doesn't mean that PWD don't face any challenges but compare to Vietnam, where there has been recently government activities promoting social supports for them, the welfare standard and policies for disabled are highly improved. However, many PWD in Vietnam still experience a lot of challenges and difficulties especially in access to their basic and welfare needs include health, education, housing, employment etc. in their daily life.

Therefore this study aimed at firstly, analysing and comparing the implementation of welfare policies for PWD presented between Vietnam and South Korea such as education, employment, health and income policies, and finally after the comparison, suggests on what methods/ways should be undertaken by the Vietnam government with the guide from South Korea's government to enhance the welfare state and supports for PWD.

Anyway, in social welfare policy there are two types of analysis, one is dimensional analysis and another one is policy formation process analysis. However the study will focus on the dimensional analysis model of social welfare policy in these contexts. One of the most representative models used in dimensional analysis of social welfare policy is a basic framework model, which was discovered by Gilbert and Terrell (1992). According to their theory social welfare policy can be defined by, (a) to who the social welfare benefits should be delivered, (b) what kind of benefits should be delivered, (c) how does the benefits should be delivered and lastly (d) selection of funding method. These four dimensions are called the dimension of choice. Also they can be categorized into four parts: (i) Social allocation, in other words is beneficiary target. Who, from which group will be the target of social welfare. The problem in whether the beneficiary will be selected people or the whole citizens; (ii) Social provisions, this involves what kind of benefits should be provided to the beneficiaries (nature of the benefits). For example the benefits should be in cash (money) or kind (things); (iii) Delivery strategies, how do the benefits should be delivered to the beneficiaries (what methods or ways to be used). This involves the design of the delivery system and organization of the services provider and consumer; and (iv) Funding, this focus on what kind of funding should be used (source of fund and system of transfer), for example general taxes, purpose taxes and insurance bill. Therefore in the analysis of social welfare policies this study will use Gilbert and Terrell model (basic framework model) (Gilbert and Terrell 1992).

2. Current population trend of people with disabilities

This section is developed as the first part of social policy framework by Gilbert and Terrell for looking at who to be benefited from disability welfare policy in Vietnam and South Korea.

2.1. People with disabilities in South Korean

PWD are categorized into 15 groups, such as physical disability, brain lesion disorder, visual disorder, retardation disorder, speech/ language disorder, mental disorder, hearing/deaf disorder, kidney disorder, epileptic disorder, facial disability, autism disorder, intellectual disorder, heart disorder, respiratory disability, and ostomy disorder. According to the survey done in 2011 the number for PWD were 2,683,477, which is 2% higher compare 2000 which were 1,449,496. And 2,611,126 were home stay while 72,351 were living in the facility centers for PWD.

<Table1> Disabled number of home stay and facility centers 2000-2011

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Department of health and welfare (2012), and disability survey (2011)

PWD in South Korea are classified into two groups, those with one disability and those with more than one disability (multiple disorders). Based on the survey done in 2011 the population rate for those with multiple disabilities has been decreased. In 2011, those with two kinds of disabilities were 87.5% while those with more than two kind of disability were 12.5%. Most of those who have two kinds of disability were mostly intellectual and speech disability (11.7%), followed by those with autism and hearing/deaf disability (10.6%), and lastly those with brain and speech disability (6.6%). Also regardless of those who have more than three disability includes brain, speech and intellectual disability (2.8%), brain, hearing and speech disability (0.8%) and brain, visual/ blind and speech disability (0.6%). the registered process for PWD was introduced in the end of the 1980s with the statistics given in the Table 2.

<Table2> Disabled population 1999-2010

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Department of health and welfare (2012)

2.2. People with disabilities in Vietnam

Among the 78.5 million persons aged 5 years or older in Viet Nam in 2009 Census, almost 6.1 million, or 7.8 per cent, live with one or more disability in seeing, hearing, walking or cognition. Among these disabled people, 385,000 are persons with severe disabilities (PWSD)[1]. Although smaller, the PWSD number approximates the total number of PWSD receiving regular support from the Ministry of Labor, Invalid and Social Affairs (MOLISA)[2]. The prevalence of disability in each of the four life domains is presented in Table 2 below. Problems encountered with ‘seeing’ are the most prevalent, followed by ‘walking’ and ‘cognition’[3]. However, in the moderate to severe disability range, problems with ‘walking’ and ‘cognition’ are the most prevalent (UNFPA, 2012b).

<Table 3> Types and number of PWD among Vietnam population

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: (UNFPA, 2012b)

From the mentioned statistics, multiple disabilities are profound. The 2009 Census data show that 3.8 per cent of the population aged 5 years or older or as many as nearly 3 million persons (49 per cent of the 6.1 million PWD) have a disability in more than one domain. The proportion is smaller among PWSD but still very high. 28 per cent of the PWSD experience disabilities in multiple domains (PWMD).

The prevalence of disability found in the 2009 Census is much lower than the rate of 15.3 per cent (National Coordinating Council on Disability, 2010; UNFPA, 2012b) presented in the 2006 Viet Nam Household Living Standards Survey (VHLSS). Although the difference in the number of domains contributes to this variation, it is minor[4]. Multiple differences between the two surveys, such as found in disability-specific questions[5], length of the questionnaire, and skill of interviewers, may also contribute to variations in prevalence rates (General Statistics Office, 2008). However, prevalence rates found in the 2009 Census are closely aligned to results reported by the MOLISA at 6 per cent (MOLISA & UNICEF, 2009)[6]. The prevalence of disability is slightly higher among females than males as observed in all domains and degrees of difficulty. The prevalence is 8.4 per cent among females and 7.0 per cent among males aged 5 years or older.

3 . Related welfare laws for people with disabilities

3.1. Related welfare laws for people with disabilities in South Korea

In South Korea there are different laws concerns the PWD. The concept about disability, purpose and services contents of each law is different from each other. The followings are some of the policies enacted by the government to improve the welfare of the PWD:

Disabled welfare Act (1981)

This was first enacted in 1981 as mental and physical welfare act and change to disabled welfare act in 1989. This act through the opening order gives a first priority the prevention for disability, to ensure safety of the life of disabled person through including intensive policy contents, completely participation in the society and social integration through equality (article 3). According to this act, PWD are the ones who receive obstacles from the society due to physical disability such as lack of internal and external ability and also mental disability such as mental diseases and growth retarded disability. Also the Act focuses on delivering the following service: (i) Research study on reason and prevention of disability, early discovery of the disability, treatment and consider the needed policy; (ii) Rehabilitation treatment and social adaptation training;(iii) Education service to the PWD depending on the age, ability and type of disability;(iv) Development of disability awareness to the community; (v) Safety measures concern disability characteristics;(vi) Support of culture and sports activities for disabled; (vii) Policy making on the reduction the economic burden for disabled and their care givers and Study, research and evaluation of intensive system for disabled welfare and develop a recognized disabled sports policy (Ministry of Government Legislation 1981).

Special Needs Education Law (SNEL , 2007)

This law was enacted on April 2007 through special education Act of 1977 and started to be implemented on May 2008. According to SNEL (Article 18), it aims at providing special education for disabled person though integrating national and local authority, and implementing suitable education according to lifecycle features and disability model, extent of disability in order to ensure self realization and social integration for disabled people(Article 1). The followings are the primary contents of the law:(i) Selecting the target for special education and deciding on the contents of education resources/ support(ii) Support disable’s long life education and supporting early education for children with disability (Ministry of Government Legislation 2007).

Disabled employment promotion and job rehabilitation Act (1990)

It was established in 1990, aims at promoting employment for PWD. In 2000 employment rehabilitation was included as part of promoting employment. According to this law, extreme/severe disabled persons face long time obstacles in working environment due to physical and mental disability (Article2). Therefore purpose is to help PWD to find the job that matches with their ability. The following ways use to support employment for disabled people: (i) Increase independent living ability for PWD and develop, implement various job rehabilitation centers. (ii) Implementation of employment support, protection and responsibility system and establishment of work cancelling (ii) Management and establishment of employment promotion fund (Ministry of Government Legislation 2000).

Discrimination prohibition and remedies Law for disabled (2008)

The purpose of this law is to ensure completely participation and equality for disabled people in every aspect of their lives such as education, employment place, movement and access etc., justice and administrative services by stopping discrimination. This includes not only direct discrimination such as rejection, exclusion etc., but also indirectly discrimination. The act focuses on the following aspects to stop discrimination for disabled persons on the Employment, Education, Culture, arts and sports activities, Movement and means of transport, Family and welfare facilities, Use and access of physical facilities, Health centers, Women and children with disability, Mental disability, Harassment, Provide Information accessibility and reasonable accommodation in communications, Mother, paternal rights, gender, etc.

Disability Pension Law (2010)

Due to living difficulties experienced by people with severe disability, the main purpose of the law is to provide pension to ensure their life safety, improved welfare and social integration. The following are the contents of this law:(i) Selection of the disabled pension target (ii) Follow up on recipients of disabled pension(iii) Decision on the pens ion payment period and time.

3.2. Related welfare laws for people with disabilities in Vietnam

The Ordinance on People with Disabilities (1998)

The Ordinance on PWD, promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly in July 1998, stipulates the responsibilities of the local government, society and families towards PWD. Furthermore, it clarifies the rights of PWD in basic areas of life, including health, education, employment and social participation. The ordinance includes eight chapters with 35 articles (general provisions; health care for persons with disabilities; education for persons with disabilities; vocational training and employment for persons with disabilities; cultural and sporting activities of persons with disabilities; funds to assist persons with disabilities; state administration of disability-related issues). It constructs the meaning of disability based on non-discrimination according to the causes of disabilities, the presence of single or multi-disabilities, or the latent or tacit types of disabilities, which affect the social functioning of people with disabilities in the area of life activities. This meaning is similar to the concept and classification by the WHO and the UN, in general. In this document, Articles 15 and 16 identify the priorities for CWD in schools and encourage CWD to attend mainstream schools (VNA 1998).

Labour Code (2002)

The Labour Code, legislated in 2002, specified regulations on employment for PWD in offices and enterprises. Articles 125, 126, 127 and 128 identified the responsibilities of society and the state towards PWD and for the provision of financial assistance, as well as the framework for tax exemption, low interest loans for job training institutions and businesses that employ war veterans with disabilities, and other regulations relating to laborers with disabilities (VNA 2002). This legal document was crucial for creating employment opportunities for PWD. These articles also encouraged workplaces where PWD work by providing further tax exemptions, motivating resources from banks, and establishing national priorities for creating conditions for PWD. This code also identifies the minimum proportion of the workforce that should be comprised of PWD in each company or organization. These specific regulations are ideal for defining social responsibilities as well as starting to create an inclusive society for PWD.


[1] mild, moderate, and severe disability are defined as having “some difficulty”, “a lot of difficulty”, and “cannot do at all” respectively.

[2] Annual report by National Coordination Committee (NCCD) on Supporting PWD, MOLISA, 2014.

[3] Cognition represents “remembering or concentrating “throughout this paper.

[4] 2006 VLSS uses two additional domains for measuring disability. The prevalence of disability found in 2006 VLSS is smaller but still very close to 15% when measure of disability is limited to 4 domains as used in the 2009 Census

[5] For instance, the 2006 VLSS asked about “difficulty even when wearing hearing aid” while the 2009 Census asked about “hearing” without any consideration to hearing aid

[6] The report does not show the concept and measurement of disability though.

Excerpt out of 33 pages


Social Welfare Policies for People with Disabilities in Vietnam and South Korea
Vietnam National University Hanoi
Social Work
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Vietnam, Disability, People with Disability, Social Welfare, Social Work, South Korea
Quote paper
Tran Van Kham (Author)Heung Seek Cho (Author), 2016, Social Welfare Policies for People with Disabilities in Vietnam and South Korea, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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