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Reflecting on disability and poverty

In this video, Eric Emerson describes the relationships between disability and poverty.

In this video, Eric Emerson summarises the relationship between disability and poverty, drawing from his own research. Eric extends Karen and Louisa’s discussion of the cycle of disability and poverty. He explains that while it is complicated, there are a number of things that we know quite clearly.

Firstly, Eric emphasises that we know that “the poorer you are, the more likely you are to acquire a disability” no matter where you are in the life course. In other words, being exposed to poverty increases your chances of acquiring an impairment — for many of the reasons we discussed in the previous step.

Secondly, Eric explains that having a disability can lead to poverty. However, he says that this is very dependent on where you live and where you are in the life course. For example, for a child living in the UK — where there is a publicly funded health care system — families of disabled children do not need to pay for all of the costs involved in supporting their children. This means that in the UK, childhood impairment is not likely to lead to poverty. This would, however, be very different for families living in countries where such health care was not available and not publicly funded.

While disability may not lead to poverty for children in the UK, for those who acquire an impairment later in life, there is greater risk that it could lead to poverty. This is both because of career interruption and because of disabling attitudes around employment.

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Disability and a Good Life: Thinking through Disability

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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