Social Care Poverty

Social care and poverty

October 10th, 2019

Social care and poverty

“What needs to change includes care needs being met but in a way that’s not going to be the biggest chunk of someone’s wages. This is a huge issue which increases poverty and puts some disabled people off working,” Susan, GDA Member.

Social care is fundamental to other rights

Social care is a right that is fundamental to other rights: rights to education, health and work. Without it, many disabled people are left unsupported and unable to participate. This inevitably leads to poverty of income and opportunity.

Social Care charging subsequently pushes us further into poverty and isolation and creates work disincentives. Care charging is based on a false assumption which treats disability benefits as disposable income and therefore leaves disabled people vulnerable to charges. In fact disability benefits exist to help with the extra costs of disability - transport, clothing, heating, equipment etc and should therefore be disregarded. Unintended consequences include increased poverty and inequality in families affected by disability including increased Child Poverty. According to Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 

“There are 60,000 children in poverty in families where there is a disability and at least one adult does not work. In the majority of cases where there is a disability in the families, it is the adult who reports it as a limiting condition rather than a child”, Poverty in Scotland 2018.

Our social care listening event

At our social care listening event in November 2018, 137 GDA members participated in a survey on social care. Results show widespread discontent with the way in which social care is operating on the ground in Glasgow.

  • 17% of those attending said that they get the support they need, when they need it, to live the life they want
  • 30% get the help they need to communicate and have their say in the decisions that affect them
  • 19% of participants thought they had enough money to pay for things they need to keep them well
  • 26% felt that they get the support needed to be included in their community
  • 28% stated that they felt lonely a lot of the time

The national and UK wide crisis in social care is exacerbating poverty among disabled people.

Future Visions

It does not have to be this way! GDA’s Future Visions programme demonstrates what disabled people can achieve with the right support, delivered at the right time in the right way!

Future Visions was developed with and by disabled people, using a simple premise: “what would happen if disabled people had choice and control in their lives- and practical support to make choices possible!?”

Funded by Scottish Government’s Self-Directed Support National Reform Programme, the project helps participants:

  • Increase capacity and skills to understand, secure and manage the support they need to live their life via developing personal outcomes, life coaching, experiencing independent living activities and peer support.
  • Contribute towards a shared vision for social care and related reform by enabling the voices of disabled people to develop and influence social care policies and service development, in line with Audit Scotland’s recommendations for the future of social care in Scotland.
  • Support partners to better understand and meet the needs of disabled people through more flexible, responsive and effective services.

Social care is crucial to disabled people being able to live the life they choose and to fulfil their potential. GDA is working alongside Scottish Government and supporting the voices, experience and solutions from disabled people to influence the national reform programme. GDA campaigns alongside other disabled people led organisations for social care to be seen as an investment in the people of Scotland.

To find out more about our social care expert group, contact

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