Disability and poverty in later life

Ruth Hancock, Marcello Morciano and Stephen Pudney
12th Aug 2016

This report explores the relationship between disability and poverty among the older population.

It emphasises the additional living costs that disabled people face, and the importance of taking disability costs into account when making poverty assessments in the older population. The report considers alternative directions of reform for the system of public support for older people with disabilities, and casts doubt on some of the suggestions that have been made for improving the targeting of public support for older disabled people.

The report shows that:

  • effective targeting does not necessarily require an extension of means-testing;
  • the present benefit/social care system is reasonably well-targeted, but falls far short of full support for the most severely disabled;
  • there is a case for tailoring the structure of disability benefits more closely to the severity of disability;
  • there is a need for caution in considering proposals that would scrap national disability benefits in favour of an expansion of local authority social care funding.
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