Poverty can cause disability and disability can encourage poverty. Are you aware of this but find yourself wondering how poverty and disability are so intricately woven together and why. Let’s begin by pointing out how poverty can cause disability.
Poverty can cause a person to develop a disability.
How is this possible? Consider the following statements:
Poverty can encourage disability because….
– Many people who are poor do not have money to buy healthy food (or sometimes any food at all), leading to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies.
– People who live in poverty cannot afford the healthcare they need to help them control the symptoms of their disabilities or prevent further disability.
– When a person or family simply does not have enough money to live on, they often reside in “dangerous living conditions.” Such living conditions can aggravate already-present disabilities and maybe even cause new ones.
Do you see how poverty can be a cause of disability? Looking at it from a different perspective helps us to see that disability can cause someone to live in poverty as well. How?
How disability causes poverty.
Here are a just a few ways disability fosters poverty:
Disability can encourage poverty because…
– People who have disabilities have to deal with “social stigmas and exclusion.” This can discourage them from getting the healthcare that they need in order to function well. Also, isolation itself might encourage the development of emotional disabilities.
– Those with disabilities often are unable to get to work or school. If a person doesn’t get an education, how are they supposed to work? And if they don’t work, how can they be expected to have money to live on? This demonstrates the catch 22 that this situation creates.
Note: these ideas were adapted from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/global-disability-research/downloads/Dan_Mont_-_Perspectives_from_the_World_Bank.pdf.
A low income level can increase chances of disability.
Why is this? Because when people are poor, they often have difficulties securing employment and education. Part of the reason for this is often immobility. Also, people with low incomes typically cannot afford healthy food (or any food at all) and proper healthcare. All of this can encourage disability.
Poverty as a cause of disability is often ignored.
For some reason, many people do not see that low income levels can result in disability. As it’s stated on Disabled World (http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/statistics/disabilities-poverty.php), “The share of people experiencing income poverty who have disabilities is far larger than conventionally understood.” Just because it’s not understood, however, doesn’t mean it isn’t affecting the disability communities of the world.
Poverty and disability are most definitely connected.
Do you have any doubts that low income levels and disability are linked? If so, consider these statistics:
– Individuals who have disabilities have a higher likelihood of going without things that they need for survival that those without disabilities. What sort of essentials might they go without? Food, healthcare, housing, medications, and more.
– There are 600,000 Canadians with disabilities that are living in poverty.
– For Canadians with disabilities who live alone, poverty rates are even higher. Of these people, 31 percent are financially poor.
To read more statistics such as these, visit http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/socialpolicy/poverty-citizenship/demographic-profile/poverty-disability-canada.
Are you beginning to see the poverty-disability cycle that many people are stuck in?
If so, you may be wondering what you can do to end it. While there is no pat answer for this, here’s a start: Do your best to spread awareness of disability and not socially exclude people who have disabilities. This will do something to help to end the cycle of poverty and disability.
This week Disability Living is discussing demographics and disability. Status of employment could be considered an aspect of demographics, and with that comes the issue of income levels. Income levels greatly affect a society, and believe it or not, can even be deciding factors in disability.
Let’s Talk About It
Do you have a disability? Are you living in poverty? If so, do you feel that poverty can encourage disability?
Does society at large understand how closely disability and poverty are linked?
What are some other ways that disability causes poverty and poverty causes disability?
Do you think exclusion of people with disabilities encourages poverty by preventing these individuals from finding employment?