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Risk of major disability poverty rise

13 June 2013

Risk of major disability poverty rise

Today’s poverty figures from DWP and the National Statistics Office (NSO) reveal that absolute poverty is rising for children and some working age adults. An additional 300,000 children are now living in poverty – and 600,000 working age adults also fell below absolute poverty levels.

Disability is one of the key indicators for living in poverty – with estimates of 40% of disabled children living in poverty and a third of disabled adults living in poverty.

The NSO figures reveal that the higher living costs of disabled people are not taken into account [1] by the Government despite campaigns on this issue by Disability Rights UK members and our forerunners.

The poverty figures for disabled people are likely to be even higher as NSO figures do not take into account:

- the 1% benefit up-rating from April (below inflation); and

- the time-limiting (365 days) of some out of work benefits for some disabled people.

Liz Sayce, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, says:

“Disabled people have traditionally been hit hard in tough economic times. We fear that disabled people are likely to suffer again now with a significant rise in working age absolute poverty before the majority of disability benefit cuts take effect.”  

The NSO figures also suggest that disability poverty could be tackled if the Government ensures disabled people who qualify for help access the support available [2]. Liz Sayce adds:

“A concerted effort from Government to ensure disabled people access the support available would lift us out of poverty. The Government must also ensure work pays by ensuring the numbers of disabled people helped to secure and retain work under the excellent Access to Work scheme is boosted significantly.”

Notes

[1] P152 of the report states that: ‘No adjustment is made to disposable household income to take into account any additional costs that may be incurred due to a disability. This means that the position in the income distribution groups may be somewhat upwardly biased.’

[2] P151 of the report: ‘Working-age adults in families containing one or more disabled member and not receiving disability benefits were much more likely to be in low-income households compared to those in receipt of disability benefits.’