Poll reveals disabled in financial hardship

14.09.2021 - 15:05
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 Mynd: RÚV
80 percent of disabled people struggle to make ends meet, and an equally high proportion go without certain healthcare services because they cannot afford them. 60 percent cannot cover unexpected expenses, and more than one in ten receive food assistance from charities. The situation of disabled single parents is even worse, with 90 percent struggling to make ends meet and nearly half struggling to provide their children with nutritious food.

These are among the results of new research into the economic situation of disabled people in Iceland commissioned by the disabled people’s association and released yesterday. 

Among the report’s other revelations is that around 40 percent of disabled people have accepted financial help from friends or family over the past year and that one-in-five received special housing support from municipalities, and a similar proportion have fallen behind on loan payments or rent. A quarter say they cannot afford a good meal every-other-day. 

The report states that 55 percent of respondents are “active”; for example in employment, education, or rehabilitation. The report notes a widespread desire among disabled people to be actively employed, and the main reasons for not being employed are poor health or a lack of part-time positions available. Many also fear that changing employment status could lead to lower income. 

The report concludes that the tight financial situation of disabled parents especially impacts their children. 40 percent cannot afford to buy enough clothes for their children and one third cannot afford as nutritious food as they feel their children need. A similar proportion cannot afford to pay for extracurricular activities, and one-in-six cannot afford school meals. One-in-ten cannot afford school books and other study costs for their children. 

Among other things the research looked into were social isolation and prejudice. Around a quarter of respondents said they are very socially isolated and more than half said the level of social isolation has increased during the pandemic. More than 70 percent said they experience prejudice because of their disability. 

The research was carried out by Varða, the workplace research agency, and its goal was to compile information on the situation of disabled people in Iceland. 

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