UK Policy Briefings
Covid-19 and Economic Challenges for Disabled Women
Date Posted: Monday 23rd November 2020
- There are 14 million disabled people in the UK: 20% of men and 23% of women are disabled. Overall, 36% of households in the UK have a disabled person.
- 37.7% of disabled mothers have struggled to feed their children since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Nearly 60% of disabled women have struggled to balance paid work and looking after their children during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Disabled women were the most likely group to say they will come out of the Covid-19 pandemic in more debt. Early in the crisis 34.2% of disabled women reported their household had already run out of money women (compared with 24.4% of non-disabled women).
- The cost of living has risen for disabled people during the Covid-19 pandemic. Disabled people were already facing on average an extra £583 in costs per month due to their impairment or condition. The decision not to raise legacy benefits in line with other benefits such as Universal Credit has particularly impacted disabled people.
- 20% of disabled women have reported losing government support since the start of the crisis and 42.9% had lost support from others around them.
- 1 in 5 employers are still hesitant to employ a disabled person, and 42% of employers are discouraged from hiring disabled vacancy applicants due to concerns about providing adequate support during the Covid-19 pandemic
- 53.5% of disabled women are employed compared with 78.2% of non-disabled women. Disabled women’s employment has increased by 11.6% in the past 7 years however they are more likely to be underemployed and in low-paid jobs.
- Disabled people earn 19.6% less than non-disabled people, equivalent to £3,822 per year. However, the gap for disabled women is significantly higher at 36% (average median gross earnings compared to a non-disabled man). This totals an equivalent difference in earnings of £7,020 per year.
- Half of all people in poverty live in a household with at least one disabled person. Overall, 28% of disabled families live in poverty, compared with 18% of families where no one is disabled.