Disability is both a cause and a consequence of economic insecurity. It can be a cause by leading to job loss and reduced earnings, barriers to education and skills development, significant additional expenses, and many other economic challenges. It can also be a consequence because poverty and economic insecurity can limit access to health care and preventive services and increase the likelihood that a person lives and works in an environment that may adversely affect their health. Poverty and disability therefore go hand in hand.
Yet the intersection of disability and poverty is too rarely discussed. In fact, until recently, the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report detailing income, poverty, and health insurance coverage did not even include poverty rates for people with disabilities—despite the fact that 1 in 5 Americans live with disabilities. It does now, and the most recent available data put the poverty rate for working-age people with disabilities at 21.2 percent in 2015, compared with 13.8 percent for those without disabilities.
Disability policy all too often lives separate and apart from other policy discussions about poverty and inequality, climate change, criminal justice reform, and other issues. To achieve the goal of workers with disabilities having a fair shot at gainful employment and economic security, policymakers must step back and take a much broader look at the policy landscape and how it affects workers with disabilities.
Please join the Center for American Progress, Claudia Gordon, and a panel of cutting-edge disability thought leaders for the commemoration of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the rollout of a new economic agenda for the disability community.
Neera Tanden, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
Claudia Gordon, Vice President of Accessibility, Sprint
Taryn Williams, Managing Director, Poverty to Prosperity, Center for American Progress
Carrie Wade, National Programs Director, American Association of People with Disabilities
Crosby Cromwell, Flexability
Neal Carter, Senior Partner, Nu View Consulting
Rebecca Cokley, Director, Disability Justice Initiative, Center For American Progress