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Houston, Texas

People discussing health of women with disabilities
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Demographics--Income and Poverty

Women with disabilities have significantly lower income compared to non-disabled women. Women with disabilities have been called "the poorest of the poor."
  • Women with disabilities are more likely than non-disabled women to live in households below the poverty level. This is especially true for women with three or more functional limitations.
  • Although many women with disabilities receive government income, more than half of all women with three or more functional limitations receive no disability or government income.
  • In a study of 415 women with disabilities, the average education level was 13 years. Nearly half of the women in the study had some college education or its equivalent. However, approximately 4 out of every 5 of the women were unemployed.
  • In 1999, the authors of the Chartbook on Women and Disability in the United States summarized national data on women with work-related disabilities:
    • Working age women (21-64 years) earn less than working age men regardless of disability. Working women with disabilities earn less then working men and women without disabilities.
    • Women are more likely to be living in poverty than men. People with disabilities are more likely to be living in poverty than people without disabilities. Women with disabilities are more likely to be living in poverty than men with disabilities. Women with severe disabilities have the highest poverty rates of all people. Women with disabilities have been called the "poorest of the poor."
    • Women with disabilities receive social security at lower rates then do men with disabilities; however, more women with disabilities than men with disabilities receive need-based benefits such as Medicaid, public housing, and subsidized housing.
    • In 1996, fewer women than men received vocational rehabilitation services.
    • Men receive higher disabled workers' benefits than women.
    • Medical expenses are four times greater for people with disabilities than for the non-disabled population, accounting for almost half of the U.S. medical spending. Men with disabilities have higher per capita medical expenses than women with disabilities.
  • One of the most serious problems among women with physical disabilities is low economic status, which is associated with the lack of medical insurance and, consequently, the loss of access to medical care and health services

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