Poverty and Disability

 In #zerobarriers, Miscellaneous, Why is this still a thing Wednesday
A homeless man in a wheelchair sits outside on a snow kissed sidewalk.  Waiting for a break that won't come.
Waiting for a break that will not likely come. Poverty and disabilities often go hand in hand. Photo credit: Shutterstock

We have all heard the phrase ‘Poverty discriminates’. In fact, the number of people with disabilities living in poverty is one out of 5. According to Disability Statistics Annual Report in 2017; 20.9% of people with disabilities live in poverty, compared to 13.3% of people without a disability. Also, people with a disability on average, earn only two-thirds of what a person without disabilities would earn. Looking back to a story we shared 3 years ago, this is still a thing. Take a look at the history here.

Keep in mind that most disabilities cannot be spotted visually. Mental health disorders are becoming more and more common with services few and far between. When left untreated, mental illness can be a deadly diagnosis. Just read this story from the BBC to see how mental illness can tear lives apart. Mental illness is also increasingly prevalent in the homeless population. Brain and Behavior Research Foundation believes that mental illness can also lead to an inability to hold a job or maintain housing. Read what they found here.

Six years ago we discussed median wages for someone with a disability and someone without. Click here to see the difference. According to Disability Statistics Annual report mentioned in the first paragraph; the median income for someone with a disability in 2016 was $22,047 compared to $32,479 for someone without a disability.

Now what?

So where do we start? Direct support professionals (DSPs) are critical in assisting people with disabilities to prepare for and attain a meaningful, sustainable job. Unfortunately, their wages are often near that of the entry level jobs they are trying to help attain. According to Glassdoor, a DSP average wage is lower than the median income for someone with a disability.
We need to place more of a value on compassion because how can we truly achieve prosperity when so many are living in poverty?

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