The costs of disability

 

Sir, – Jennifer Purcell’s article “Carers left ‘humiliated’ by Fota Wildlife Park entry policy” (August 12th) raises the important issue of the cost of disability.

Almost one in four disabled people is in consistent poverty and although the recently launched National Disability Inclusion Strategy recognises this risk, it imagines relatively few ways out of poverty beyond “making work pay”.

If you have a disability, you are less likely to have a job, and if you do, you are likely to have lower earnings. Making work pay will do much to address poverty but regardless of your earnings, life can simply cost more. The cost of disability can vary but can be as much as €300 per week.

Costs such as home adaptations and disability aids can mount up to large expenses. But it is not just “specialist” items that cost; everyday items can cost more too. The cost of an extra ticket when a person requires assistance is a cost of disability. The cost of a taxi because of the lack of inaccessible buses is a cost of disability. Increased use of energy or waste disposal is a cost of disability.

The upcoming budget offers the opportunity to begin to address the economic inequality faced by people with disabilities in some way. Equality-proofing of budgets and a cost of disability payment will be a step towards addressing this pressing need. – Yours, etc,

SARAH LENNON

Inclusion Ireland,

Unit C2,

The Steelworks,

Foley Street,

Dublin 1.