Financial Services: Disability


Disabled people face heightened risks of poverty. Under-employment, the cost of specialist equipment and rising living costs all place this community at financial risk. Subsequently, some disabled people rely upon credit for everyday items. Furthermore, due to difficulties in accessing the labour market, mainstream forms of credit may not be obtainable.

This section will explore these issues in more depth, however, disability is not a independent personal attribute. It operates in conjunction with characteristics such as age, race and sex. Therefore, this section should be viewed in conjunction with:

Furthermore, the relationship between poverty and credit and debt is influenced by a range of other factors. Subsequently, we would suggest viewing this priority in conjunction with:


Key Facts and Figures: Glasgow, Scotland and the UK

Broader research continually details the increased financial pressures faced by disabled people, due to difficulty in accessing the labour market and the cost of specialist equipment.

In 2012, 45.6% of disabled people were in employment within Scotland, compared to 70.6% of non-disabled people.

In Glasgow, the employment figure for disabled people drops to 33.5%, compared to 59.7% of non-disabled people.

It should be noted that in 2013, the Glasgow employment rate for non-disabled people rose to 63.3%. There is currently no data available for disabled employment rates in 2013.

Source: Annual Population Survey. 2013. Local Area Labour Market Statistics 2004-2013.

The Scottish Government highlights that disabled people are significantly more likely to live in both poverty, and in Scotland’s poorest areas.

Source: Scottish Government. 2014. Overview of Equality Results in 2011 Census.

IPSOS Mori surveyed a 1000 disabled people throughout the UK, offering a range of insights into the financial difficulties faced by this community:

  • 21% feel their financial situation is poor.
  • Disabled people are less likely to use banking systems when they run out of money, 18% use an authorised/arranged overdraft, compared to 31% of non-disabled people.
  • One in eight disabled people have been turned down for credit in the last five years (13%).
  • As a result of being turned down, 26% have had to borrow money from family and friends and 13% have missed bill payments.
  • Half of disabled people have used a credit card or loan to pay for everyday items in the last 12 months. 

    Source: IPSOS Mori.2013. Disabled People and Financial Wellbeing.

    Contact a Family provide a further indication of the difficulties faced by families with disabled children. Their survey of 2,312 parents throughout the UK, presents the following information:

    • 82% of families with disabled children had to go without both essential and non-essential items in the last year due to financial issues.
    • 17% went without food.
    • 21% went without heating.
    • 26% are going without specialist equipment or adaptations.
    • 86% have went without days out.
    • 21% had been threatened by court action for failing to keep up with bill payments, of which, 46% were for utility payments.
    • 60% felt their financial situation was going to get worse in the next 12 months (up 15% from the 2010 survey, which asked the same question). 

      Source: Contact a Family. 2012. Counting the Costs 2012. The financial reality of living with disabled children across the UK.

      This research, coupled with previous discussions regarding disabled peoples access to the labour market, suggests they face increased risks of both poverty and debt. Subsequently, it would appear specific, targeted information is needed for the disabled community.