More support needed for disabled families

More support is needed for the families of disabled people, according to new research from the University of Ulster.

Goretti Horgan, from the School of Policy Studies at Magee, found the difficulties faced by people with disabilities and their carers across Northern Ireland are being exacerbated by a lack of support services, feelings of isolation and a lack of knowledge of their rights.

The research, carried out on behalf of the Bogside and Brandywell Women’s Group in Derry and funded by the Big Lottery, revealed that households with one or more disabled members are more likely to be living in poverty and that not enough is being done to address the problems faced by people living with disabilities.

“Over half of households that contained one or more disabled people are living in poverty in Northern Ireland compared with only 29% of households who have no one with a disability,” said Ms Horgan.

“Research has indicated that parents of disabled children could face three times the costs of parents of non-disabled children. The Council for Disabled Children estimates that even if families receive the maximum benefit entitlement for their disabled child, benefit levels would need to be increased by between £30 and £80 per week, depending upon age and disability, in order to meet minimum essential costs.

"The present benefit system does not take account of the cumulative costs of having more than one disabled child in the family."

The research findings also revealed a severe lack of awareness among carers of their rights and entitlement to benefits.

“Most women received little or no help from Social Services, even those with more than one disabled child. Many had never been offered respite care and had to depend solely on family support," Ms Horgan continued.

“Not enough is being done to support families living with disability, the higher costs of living with a disability should be factored into any allowances paid and support services should be tailored to suit the individual needs of families,” she concluded.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

15 April 2019
Powered Wheelchairs Now Available For Young Children In NI
Families in Northern Ireland can now access free powered wheelchairs for children with disabilities thanks to a new charity partnership. The Mae Murray Foundation has teamed up with the UK assistive technology charity Designability to provide Wizzybugs to disabled children under five.
04 April 2019
97 Arts Organisations To Benefit From £12.8m Annual Funding
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) has announced grants of £12.8 million to be divided among 97 key arts organisations across the region.
17 April 2019
SDLP: Poverty Figures Indicate Political Failure
An SDLP MLA has said that the amount of people living in poverty in Northern Ireland is a "damning indictment" of political failure in the region.
02 September 2015
Police Believe Hook May Have Been Used To Attack Elderly Disabled Man
Police believe a hook may have been used by thugs to attack an elderly disabled man at his home in the Bessbrook area, Co Armagh, in the early hours of Monday morning. A man in his seventies sustained multiple stab wounds in the attack which happened in Clogharevan Park. He is currently being treated in hospital.
11 December 2001
Proposal to ensure access to free transport for war disabled
Regional Development Minister, Peter Robinson has announced he intends to introduce free travel for War Disabled Pensioners under 65 years old.