Disabled People And Poverty:

CW: Poverty

A disability advocacy group is urging the federal government to speed up the passage of a new Canada Disability Benefit, which is presently being debated in the House of Commons. The bill, known as C-22, would establish a federal income supplement for working-age individuals with disabilities who are low-income.

According to Statistics Canada research based on statistics from 2014, at that time, people with disabilities made up 41 percent of the low-income population. Additionally, in 2017, 6.2 million Canadians aged 15 and up were disabled, accounting for 22% of the population. Todd Donohue of Manitoba recently had his disability benefits increase by $25 a month. However, Donohue says he still can’t afford to buy nutritious food.

Food insecurity is, unfortunately, common among people with disabilities. In the United Kingdom, more than 62% of working-age people referred to food banks in early 2020 were disabled. This is three times higher than the rate of non-disabled people.  78% of households with disabled members who utilized food banks in early 2020 weren’t receiving disability benefits, according to The Trussell Trust.

Living with a disability is expensive. According to the National Disability Institute, families with an adult with a disability in the United States require 28 percent more income (or $17,690 more per year for a family at the median income level) to achieve the same standard of living as a comparable household without a person with a disability.

Accessible vehicles, incontinence products, shower chairs, and patient lifts are just a few of the things a disabled person might require. Insurance doesn’t always cover these expenses. In my case, I started an online fundraising page to pay for the seat elevator on my power chair. While I am beyond grateful for everyone’s support, it was frustrating that insurance wouldn’t pay for it. I was embarrassed that I even considered asking for financial help. We shouldn’t live in a world where people rely on donations to pay for medical expenses.

According to a 2015 article published by NPR, Americans with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty than their non-disabled counterparts. Finding employment is very challenging for people with disabilities. In the United States, 19.1% of people with a disability worked last year. Additionally, Those who do not have disabilities are three times more likely to be employed than those who do. I’ve been looking for a job since I was 19 and have been unsuccessful. I couldn’t get a job at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store once they found out I have Cerebral Palsy. If people with disabilities can’t find work, they’ll continue to live in poverty.

Medicaid is also tied to my SSI, so I can’t lose my benefits. I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend toward my medical expenses. My PCA hours alone cost more than $40,000 a year. My power wheelchair costs more than $20,000. Private insurance companies don’t cover the home and community-based services that allow me to live independently. Medicaid only provides these services

People with disabilities should be able to afford necessities such as food and toiletries. They shouldn’t be forced to rely on food pantries and donations to live. Disability benefits need to increase so that people have enough to live.

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