The Price of Disability
The charity Scope published a report earlier this year which, among other things, asserted that life is much more expensive for people with disabilities. No surprises there. But it’s the scale of the extra financial burden that may surprise. After accommodation has been paid for, 49% of the total income is spent on disability-related costs and for 20% of disabled people their extra costs total more than £1,000 a month. Scope says it has “developed a new methodology to estimate the extra costs faced by disabled people.” It’s this methodology that shows us the extra costs “amount to an average of £570 a month.”
According to the Disability Living Foundation there are some 13.3 million disabled people in the UK, about 20% of the total population, and around one million of those are seeking employment. The 2010 Equality Act protects the rights of those who are disabled from discrimination, including employment, but according to a survey of 2,000 disabled job-seekers published last year, they need to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people before they find work. The UK government was criticised by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the middle of 2017 for failing disabled people across a raft of issues, including employment. Scope’s report ends by exhorting the government to “set out a cross-department approach to tackle the extra costs disabled people face across different markets” which is a bit like asking them to do what the 2010 Equality Act was meant to do.
Getting a job as a disabled person is an uphill battle – if you make it to the interview stage, how do you know if the interviewer is playing fair and has not already discounted you on the basis of prejudice? The government already provides a “publicly funded employment support programme” to help more disabled people into work called Access to Work. The programme was first introduced in June 1994 and government figures show that provision for the programme was approved for more than 25,000 people in 2016-17.
This sounds a lot – but what about the other 975,000?
3SC is a partner within the current Access to Work (ATW) programme delivering workplace assessments for those living with physical and mental health conditions and disabilities. ATW provides these customers with adaptations, guidance and kit that allows them to continue working regardless of the conditions they are living with. 3SC’s contract helps provide everything from coloured gels covering monitors (to aid with dyslexia) to specially adapted farm equipment, adjustable tables, speech to text translators and much more besides. It is not an underestimate to say it has transformed people’s lives; allowing people to keep working, allowing the employers themselves to retain the experience and knowledge of their people and above all meaning that the service users themselves can retain their independence and remain a vital part of our workplaces.
The government has given the tools and – while never enough – the UK at least has the framework in place to mitigate the intangible prejudices that employers may have against disabled job-seekers. Since 2011 3SC have delivered over 3,500 quality workplace assessments for those living with physical and mental health conditions and disabilities and are proud to been involved in the delivery of the Access to Work Programme and to have helped so many people. If you would like any further information or would like an assessment please contact 3SC directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The price of disability is high enough as it is; so work with us to help change that.