Disability and Income: The Facts DFI Factsheet - Income

Issued on April 1 2017

The economic crisis which began in 2008 was particularly hard for people with disabilities, many of whom were already living below the poverty threshold. Ireland left recession officially in September 2013[1]. Four years on and the facts are that people with disabilities in our community are in a far weaker position today than when the recession began.

In 2015, the average income for families where the head of the household was not at work due to illness or disability was €24,844.[2]

The consistent poverty rate rose from 14% to 22% for people with disabilities in 2015.[3]

Disability Costs

In a national poll carried out for DFI with 1,000 responses, almost half of those surveyed or their family member have incurred extra costs due to illness or disability. These costs related to:

  • health and therapy services: 48%,
  • travel costs to access health and social services: 24%,
  • heating bills: 16%.[4]

These extra costs have been estimated to be an average of €207 a week.[5]

Disability and Poverty

Many people with disabilities rely on social welfare payments for their income because they face barriers trying to access work, or their disability prevents them from working. Evidence shows they have not seen any benefits from the recovery, and so austerity continues for them.[6]

  • 70% of people with disabilities on state support find it difficult to live on their income.[7]
  • Among people with disabilities, 34.8% are at risk of poverty.[8]
  • 31% of people aged 20-59 with a disability were at work compared to 71% of those without a disability.[9]

Article 28 of the UN CRPD recognises the right of people with disabilities to have an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families.[10]

[1] Independent, 19 September 2013

[2] CSO (2017) (SILC) 2015, Table 2. www.cso.ie

[3] CSO (2017) (SILC) 2015

[4] Nationally representative sample survey carried out for DFI by iReach Insights in November 2015

[5] Cullinan, J., & Lyons, S. (2015). The private costs of adult disability.

[6] DFI Pre-Budget Submission 2018

[7] Rehab Group Study 2016 http://www.newstalk.com/Disability-charity-finds-70-of-people-struggle-every-week-to-make-ends-meet

[8] CSO (2017) SILC 2015

[9] ESRI Report (March 2017) https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0316/860142-disability-working-age/

[10] UN CRPD Article 28