C. The economic case for disability-inclusive policies
13. There is a growing consensus that poverty affects persons with disabilities in a disproportionate manner, a correlation that is deeper than it first appears. In fact, while many studies recognize the link between poverty and disability, too often they do not consider the direct and indirect extra costs of living with a disability. Direct costs include the extra expenses for disability-specific items, such as assistive devices and personal assistance, and greater expenditure for general services, such as medical care and transportation. Indirect costs include lost benefits or opportunity costs, such as the loss of income of persons with disabilities or of their family members who cannot work, or work less, if the household includes one or more persons with disabilities (see A/70/297). A recent and growing body of literature estimates that those costs can amount to some 30 per cent of a country’s average wages.⁶ When those costs are taken into account, in practice the standard of living of many persons with disabilities who are technically not below the poverty line, is inferior to that of people who are considered poor. For example, after taking into consideration the costs of disability in Viet Nam, the poverty rate for persons with disabilities increased from some 17 to 23 per cent.⁷
⁶ See, for example, J. Cullinan, B. Gannon and S. Lyons, “Estimating the extra cost of living for people with disabilities”, Health Economics,vol. 20, No. 5 (May 2011); Wiebke Kuklys, Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach: Theoretical Insights and Empirical Applications (Springer, 2005); Asghar Zaidi and Tania Burchardt, “Comparing incomes whenneeds differ: equivalization for the extra costs of disability in the UK”, The Review of Income and Wealth,vol. 51, No. 1 (March 2005).
⁷ Daniel Mont and Nguyen Viet Cuon, “Disability and poverty in Vietnam”, The World Bank Economic Review,vol. 25, No. 2 (May 2011).