UK Policy Briefings
2018 WBG Briefing: Disabled Women and Austerity
Date Posted: Monday 22nd October 2018
Ahead of the 2018 Autumn Budget, we’ve put together a briefing on the impact of austerity on disabled women.
- 14 million people in the UK have a disability: 20% of men and 23% of women are disabled. Overall, 36% of households in the UK have someone with a disability.
- 7% of disabled people were employed but they were more likely to be underemployed and in low-paid jobs.
- Disabled women earn less (22.1%) than non-disabled men, a gender pay gap four percentage points higher than between all men and women. Disabled women earn 11.8% less than disabled men.
- Poverty rates have been increasing since 2010 and now 26% of households with a disabled person are in poverty, compared to 22% in the overall population. This figure is likely to underestimate poverty rates of disabled households as it does not take into account additional costs associated with disability, estimated at £570 per month.
- Multiple changes since 2010 reduced the generosity and the scope of disability and incapacity benefits. This has a disproportionate impact on women as disabled women are majority of claimants (55%).
- Benefit sanctions have increased in recent years but the vast majority of sanctions and decisions not to grant disability benefits are overturned on appeal: 63% of PIP cases and 60% of ESA cases are ruled in favour of the claimant. Changes to legal aid saw a sharp decrease of 99% of disability-related cases receiving legal aid support.
- Disabled people have been disproportionately affected by austerity cuts since 2010. Disabled women are set to lose 13% of their annual net income by 2021 from cumulative tax-benefit changes.
- Disabled Lone mothers lose out the most from tax and benefit changes since 2010; by 2021 they will lose 21% of their net income if they do not have a disabled child and 32 % if they do. A third of this loss is due to shift to UC.
- Spending cuts to adult social care and housing support has also affected disabled people disproportionately.
- Disabled people experience domestic violence at twice the rate as non-disabled people. One in two disabled women experience domestic violence in their lifetime and they face additional barriers in seeking help and support.