Disability and Poverty
Commissioned by: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Reducing poverty among disabled people has to be at the heart of any attempts to reduce poverty overall in the United Kingdom (UK). This is because, first, disabled people have higher poverty rates than the rest of the population – poverty rates that are understated by the official statistics. Second, disabled people make up 28% of people in poverty, and a further 20% of people in poverty live in a household with a disabled person. In other words, almost half of people in poverty in the UK are in a household with a disabled person or are disabled themselves.
Both reducing costs and increasing resources must be part of a strategy to reduce poverty for disabled people. Evidence from this report suggests the particular role of housing costs, with high poverty rates for disabled renters. Disabled people also face multiple disadvantages in the labour market, such as lower levels of qualifications, but also higher rates of low pay than non-disabled people even with the same qualifications. Public policy must also consider how best to involve disabled people in guiding the decisions that affect them.