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Disability and poverty

Disability accounts for poverty in far more cases than we commonly realize — and people have a greater chance of experiencing disability, too, according to a new report (pdf) from the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

About half of working-age adults who experience poverty have a disability; of those who are poor for at least three years, two-thirds are disabled. 

Food shortages, evictions, utility shutoffs, skipping medical care — all are more common for people with disabilities.

The report also finds that male household heads in their mid-50s have a 53 percent chance of having been disabled and a 19 percent chance of chronic and severe disability.

“These new findings show that any serious attempt at an agenda to reduce income poverty must take disability into account as both a cause and consequence of poverty,” said author Shawn Fremstad.  Health insurance, paid sick days and sick leave, and modernization of Social Security disability are of particular importance, Fremstad said.

Not far above people with disabilities are people who care for people with disabilities, who are among the lowest-paid workers.

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Category: disability, poverty


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