Families where someone has a disability are more likely to live in poverty.
Households where at least one person has a disability are more likely to live in relative poverty than households where no one has a disability.
Raising a child with a disability might also require things such as a specially adapted car seat or bicycle. Such items cost significantly more than standard high-street items that are suitable for children without a disability. (Contact a Family 2012).
A survey of over 2,000 families with children with a disability found that:
- 17% go without food
- 21% go without heating
- 26% go without specialist equipment.
(Contact a Family 2012).
Benefits are a type of financial support provided by the government to help people in need, for example because they are unemployed, on a low income, have children or have a disability.
The main benefits that people with a learning disability or carers may be able to receive are:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to help with the extra costs caused by a disability
- Employment and Support Allowance if they can’t work because of a disability
- Carer’s Allowance if they look after someone with substantial caring needs
2014/15 government spending on disability-related benefits in the UK:
- employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - £13 billion
- disability Living Allowance (DLA) - £13.9 billion
- personal Independence Payment (PIP) - £1.6 billion
- carer’s Allowance - £2.3 billion.
Source: DWP (2015c)
Access to banking
Access to banking is important for people with a learning disability, because many people need a bank account in order to get their benefits, spend their money, and manage direct payments.
However, research by Dosh (2014) shows that people with a learning disability may face a number of difficulties in accessing banks and building societies. These include:
bank staff not being sure whether some people with a learning disability have the mental capacity to open a bank account
Banks not giving people the right support
Banks not giving people the right support to access their money – such as offering them a card requiring a signature instead of a PIN number
Banks not providing accessible information
Banks not providing accessible information or support to help people manage their bank account
Young people & families
Young people living in families where someone has a disability are twice as likely to live in low income and material deprivation as young people living in families where no one has a disability.
In 2013-/14, the percentage of young people living in low income and material deprivation was:
- 22% in families where someone has a disability
- 10% in families where no one has a disability
Young people with a learning disability also experience poorer outcomes in terms of health, housing and education than young people without a learning disability. This is particularly the case for young people with a disability who are from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups or who live in lone-parent households (Blackburn et al. 2010; MacInnes et al. 2015).
Access to banking and benefits serve to reduce the disadvantages faced by people with a learning disability.