UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social services for the disabled : a descriptive study of needs and resources in a family context, based on a sample group of total disability allowance recipients, City Social Service Department, Vancouver, 1958 Maung, SʻMyint


Disablement is of many types and has varied causes; but when the disability is total or permanent there are serious consequences, economic and social, for the afflicted persons and their families. Two types of disability, those arising from war casualties and those arising from industrial accidents, have been the subject of special provision for many years (national Veterans' legislation and provincial Workmen's Compensation); but civilian non-industrial disablement has only recently become the subject of national legislation. Prior to the institution of Disability Allowances (1955), many of the persons now receiving these grants were Social Assistance cases. This thesis undertakes a descriptive study of a group of such cases, with the special purpose of illuminating the family contests of total disablement. Two types of family situation are chosen: (a) families with a dependent child or younger person; (b) families in which the male head is the disabled person. Against a background of existing records, a small number of typical families in each group were interviewed comprehensively on the nature and implications of the disease or disability, the activities and attitudes of the handicapped person and his (or her) family, and family, neighborhood and community strengths and weaknesses. It proved possible to bring together this picture in integral form under four heads: (1) economic circumstances (including the family budget, and implications for welfare administration); (2) family contributions (strengths and weaknesses); (3) compensating activities and attitudes; (4) community resources and needs. While this account remains qualitative, it provides at least a provisional approach to the realities and limitations of "rehabilitation" for such difficult cases as these. This particular review reveals an area of family solidarity, or at least acceptance of burdens and responsibilities, which deserves more attention than it usually gains, but it also underlines the value of auxiliary welfare services, and the need for discriminate and discretionary application of administrative provisions.

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