Disabled People Living in Poverty

CW: Poverty

According to a human rights monitor, disabled people in the UK face rising discrimination and an increasing risk of poverty as a result of government failures to address issues ranging from disability benefits to employment.

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), successive UK governments have made little or no progress in addressing 11 policy recommendations identified by UN investigators in a highly critical report issued in 2016, accusing ministers of “systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights.

In a report to the UN issued on Thursday, the EHRC stated that disabled persons were still at a disproportionately high risk of poverty, low income, and bad public services, and were still likely to face public prejudice.

The pandemic and associated cost-of-living crises had exacerbated many of the issues mentioned in the 2016 report.

While the government had set aside some one-time financial support for disabled people on low incomes to offset high food and energy bills as a result of Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis, the EHRC claimed that this did not go far enough, citing official data showing that disabled people were much more likely to struggle to pay gas and electricity bills.

Unfortunately, millions of disabled people worldwide live in poverty. According to a 2015 NPR report, disabled Americans are twice as likely as nondisabled Americans to live in poverty.

Living with a disability is also very expensive. According to the National Disability Institute, researchers estimate that U.S households containing an adult with a disability require, on average, 28 percent more income (or an additional $17,690 a year for a family at the median income level) to obtain the same standard of living as a comparable household without a member with a disability.

Wheelchairs, walkers wheelchair-accessible vans, prescriptions, incontinence products bath and shower chairs, enteral formula, and specialized beds, are just some of the things that are necessary for disabled people. Sadly, health insurance often doesn’t cover all of these costs.

Disabled people should not have to worry about how they will pay their bills or keep a roof over their heads. This shouldn’t be a concern for anyone.


Butler, Patrick. “Ministers’ Failures Mean Disabled People in UK Face Growing Poverty Risk – Report.” The Guardian, Guardian News, and Media, 16 Aug. 2023, http://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/aug/17/ministers-failures-mean-disabled-people-in-uk-face-growing-poverty-risk-report.

Fessler, Pam. “Why Disability and Poverty Still Go Hand in Hand 25 Years After Landmark Law.” NPR, NPR, 23 July 2015, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/07/23/424990474/why-disability-and-poverty-still-go-hand-in-hand-25-years-after-landmark-law.

Parrott, Sharon. “Important Investments, Significant Disappointments in Year-End Legislation.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 20 Dec. 2022, https://www.cbpp.org/press/statements/important-investments-significant-disappointments-in-year-end-legislation.

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