Living in Spain with disabilities

Man in a wheelchair in local town. Credit: Time Wheat, Rural Institute, Flickr

Living abroad can be difficult but Spain has greatly contributed to the rights and protection of people with disabilities, making it a peaceful and enjoyable destination.

There has been an improvement in Spain´s regulations over the past years, as the new Law 8/2021, advocated for the rights of persons with special needs. This law ensured the autonomy of adults with disabilities, who are now free to make decisions about their living standards, assistance and medical treatment: something which was previously determined by the curators or guardians.

Spain offers public healthcare for the residents so after five years of living or officially working in Spain, it becomes accessible. Otherwise, private health insurance can be obtained, the benefit of which is quick access to personalised care and English-speaking services. It is also possible to continue receiving the benefits from your native country and can be investigated through the official government websites.

There are advantages to living in Spain, including access to transport, as all airports and long-distance trains provide assistance services free of charge. Public transport is generally adapted for people with reduced mobility: the buses of Madrid and Barcelona have 100 per cent accessibility. If driving, a ´blue badge´ for parking can be attained through the local Social Services. 

The Spanish Accessible Tourism Network, founded in 2016, has also raised the standards of accessibility, providing advice on the best locations and assistance available for sightseeing, restaurants, museums and cultural activities.

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Written by

Anna Akopyan

Originally from Moscow, with Russian and Armenian origins, Anna has lived in Costa Blanca for over ten years. She is passionate about singing, acting and traveling.