Budget Impact on Disabled Women
Philippa Willitts // 8 July 2010
Jess posted that women will bear the brunt of three-quarters of extra taxes and benefit cuts from the latest budget. Disabled people are also at risk, especially with the proposed changes to benefits, so disabled women will be particularly adversely affected.
In a 2004 study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, on the extra costs of living associated with being disabled, it was found that disabled people living on benefits face a weekly shortfall of £200 compared to the amount required for them to ensure an acceptable, equitable quality of life and minimum standard of living. And those results were for people on maximum benefit levels.
With many people who are too sick to work being ‘pushed into seeking work without any help or support’, and the continuing rolling out of ESA, a system condemned as ‘unfit’ by one of the very people who designed it, along with proposed ‘savings’ (by which we mean cuts) to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), many disabled people living on benefits will be even more limited.
The cost of living for everybody, as well as the particular extra costs of living for disabled people, continues to rise, and will do so especially with the increase in VAT. As benefits are frozen and essentially cut, disabled women in particular will be seriously adversely affected.
For working disabled women, there will also be more problems. The Joseph Rowntree report found that disabled people with high-medium needs would find themselves with a shortfall of £80 a week, not even including possible PA costs. Add to this that more disabled people tend to work in the public sector than the private sector, where cuts are of course being made, and the situation is frightening. In addition, disabled people who work can claim Disability Living Allowance, so cuts and limitations will affect them too. In fact, some working people can only work because of the way they use their DLA to cover additional costs, so cutting that could well mean that some working disabled people would have to stop work, and claim benefits.
The proposed budgetary changes threaten to send many more women into poverty. They threaten to send many more disabled people into poverty. So for disabled women? It is a very scary time indeed.