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LSS – The freedom revolution

1994

1 January 1994 was an independence day of sorts for disabled people and their relatives. On that day the Care Law was replaced by LSS, the Act Concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments.

The legislation led to more people receiving support and service, and the addition of personal assistance became a symbol of the freedom of disabled persons to be able to live like everyone else –with the right to study, work, or carry out any other meaningful occupation, along with the right to take part in community life. Like the Care Law, LSS became a human rights law – in other words, a law that supports people in asking for help from society when they belong to a particular group with needs that can be fulfilled by the legislation. LSS also meant that a large proportion of county council responsibility was transferred to the municipalities.

The author of the law was then-Minister for Social Affairs, Bengt Westerberg of FP, Sweden’s Liberal Party. The legislation emphasised the concept of “support and service”, which heralded new, more equal treatment compared to the previous law, which had focused on “care”. From 1994 it became clearer that focus must be placed on the needs for the individual and their right to demand assistance.

People with psychological disabilities had long been treated in a patronising manner and often had to endure being considered as imbeciles or feeble-minded. They had to spend their lives in institutions and mental hospitals, isolated from the world around them.

After the Second World War, Sweden started to build up its social sector at a rapid rate. Maternity care and child benefits were introduced. New training programmes for social workers and psychologists were set up. However, nothing happened in terms of the care of the so-called “feeble-minded”. Protests against this and scandals in residential care homes led to an act being passed in 1954 on the education and care of people with psychological disabilities. In 1968 the first Care Law was passed; this legislation was revised in 1986 and later replaced by LSS.

Nytida offers a large number of group, assisted-living and short-term accommodations throughout Sweden, along with personal assistance and other services provided in accordance with LSS.

Read more about LSS on the Nytida website