Many disabled people’s lives are scarred by poverty. The evidence suggests that due to austerity cuts and welfare “reforms” more disabled people are experiencing poverty. But what is the true scale of the problem? According to Scottish Government after housing costs are taken into account:
- 23% of people in households containing a disabled adult were living in poverty (2015/16).
- This compared to 18% of people living in poverty in households where there was no disabled adult.
The Scottish Government’s main means of measuring poverty is based on average household income and does not take into account the extra costs associated with disability. Thus the 23% figure is an under-estimate.
In 2015 Scope found that disabled people spent an average £550 a month on disability related expenses (e.g. taxis, increased use of heating, special equipment, care costs, etc. Counting the Cost, Scope, 2015).
Half (48%) of those living in poverty are disabled people and their families.
The other half (52%) is everyone else.
The New Policy Institute took these additional costs into account and found that 28% of those living in poverty in the UK are disabled people and another 20% live in a household with a disabled person. So nearly half (48%) of all the poverty in the UK is associated with disability.