Disabilities

  • There are 40 million people with disabilities – 12.6 percent of the population – living in America. People with disabilities are roughly twice as likely as the general population to live below the poverty line. In 2015, the poverty rate for working-age (ages 21 to 64) individuals with disabilities living in the community was 27 percent, while the poverty rate for working-age individuals without disabilities was 11.6 percent – a poverty gap of 15.4 percentage points. In 2015, the employment rate of working-age people with disabilities in the US was 35.2 percent, compared to 78.3 percent of people without disabilities. People with disabilities are also more likely to face compensation discrimination when, on average, they earn $5,000 less than people without disabilities. Meanwhile, only about one out of five individuals with a disability received Supplemental Security Insurance from the federal government in 2015. Across the board, people with disabilities continue to face substandard experiences and outcomes in employment, education, housing, transportation, and health care because of inaccessible and inadequately-funded state and federal programs, outdated public policies and discrimination due to persistent fears, myths, and stereotypes surrounding disability.

    Access to good jobs, health care, education, training and social services are critical for people with disabilities to succeed. Advocates for people with disabilities work to ensure that the entire scope of federal services and programs – including Medicaid, the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Insurance, elementary and secondary public education, and other programs and social services are accessible and appropriate to people with disabilities.

    For more information on this issue, visit CHN’s Public Policy Priorities, 2015-2016 as well as the SSI and SSDI Outcome Fact Sheets.

    Advocacy Organizations

    Bazelon Center
    Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
    Easterseal
    Families USA
    National Disability Rights Network
    Parents’ Action for Children
    The Arc UCP Public Policy Collaboration
    The National Council on Independent Living
    United Cerebral Palsy
    World Institute on Disability