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Number of disabled people in poverty leap

  • 10/04/2019

Turn2us, a national poverty charity, has seen a dramatic surge in poverty for people with disabilities in a number of regions over recent years.

Between 2016/17 and 2017/18, the number of disabled people in poverty coming to the charity for support increased dramatically:

  • In Wales, it increased by 32%
  • In the North-East, it increased by 49%
  • In the North-West, it increased by 32%
  • In the West-Midlands, it increased by 34%

These figures correlate with the annual Households Below Average Income report released by the DWP recently, which shows:

  • The number of disabled people in absolute poverty before housing costs rose from 16% to 18% (from 3.6 million to 3.8 million)
  • The number of disabled people in absolute poverty after housing costs also rose, from 22% to 23% (4.9 million to 5 million)
  • 600,000 more disabled people have fallen into absolute poverty since 2010

Turn2us - which helps people to increase their income through benefits, grants and financial support - assisted hundreds of thousands disabled people in 2017/18, which was thousands more than in the previous year, and current trends suggest we will see that rise continue throughout this year.

To help fight the increase in disability poverty, Turn2us has launched a targeted campaign to provide support in the areas where it is needed most.

Alison Taylor, Director of Operations at Turn2us, said:

“These statistics highlight a growing concern from Turn2us that cuts to welfare benefits, low paid employment and an overcomplicated support system is forcing more people with disabilities into poverty.

“The increase in people with a disability struggling financially can be attributed to a range of factors including the transition from legacy benefits such as DLA and ESA to new benefits such as PIP and Universal Credit, the ongoing benefits freeze, low paid jobs and zero hour contracts.

“We hear from thousands of people who use our services every month who tell us that having someone to speak to and navigate the complexity of what support exists is becoming increasingly difficult to find. This is why we have a dedicated helpline to assist people in increasing their income.”

The Turn2us Helpline is a free service accessible between 9:00-5:30pm, Monday - Friday on 0808 802 2000 (except bank holidays).