Four in ten children with disabilities in the UK, roughly 320,000 children, are living in poverty, according to figures in a new report by The Children’s Society. Nearly a third of these children are living in severe poverty, and in households that also include a disabled adult, around half of disabled children are living in poverty.
New analysis in the report, 4 in every 10 disabled children living in poverty, shows how additional costs of caring for a child with a disability – which have not been accounted for in previous analysis – mean that poverty rates amongst disabled children are higher than government statistics have previously stated.
The report makes a number of key recommendations to the Government detailing how families can be lifted out of poverty. Ministers are urged to ensure that all families with disabled children are aware of, and able to take up, their full entitlement to benefits.
The Government is also called upon to rethink planned welfare reforms including the Universal Credit which, the charity claims, would see over 100,000 disabled children lose up to £27 per week.
Calling the report’s findings “staggering and very worrying”, Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society said that families are forced into poverty through the hidden costs of essentials such as transport, heating and learning aids. “All forms of support for disabled children are seriously hampered when families live on a low income”, he said.
Sarah Lambert, of the National Autistic Society, echoed Mr Reitemeier’s concerns, saying that the report “not only show that more needs to be done to support these families, but also highlights the dangers of further cuts to welfare support.”
In excess of 30 major national charities have come together to launch an online petition, “Don’t let disabled children pay the price of welfare reform”, arguing that cutting benefits removes a vital lifeline for many disabled families who could be pushed below the poverty line as a result.
The report, 4 in every 10 disabled children living in poverty, can be downloaded via: