by Frankie Mastrangelo, JFA Moderator
Although it’s no secret that we are in tough economic times, new data from the Census Bureau shows just how tough the times really are for people with disabilities. Last year, the nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent, the highest it’s been since 1993. This is alarming in itself, but the numbers relating disability and poverty status are even more striking. In 2010, 27.9% of people with disabilities were living below the poverty line, compared to 12.5% of people without disabilities. People with disabilities are far more likely to live in poverty and householders with disabilities are, on average, earning less than half of those without disabilities. Last year, householders without disabilities’ earned a median income of $58,736/year while those with disabilities brought in an average of $25,550/year.
Not surprisingly, the data also reflects income drops for people both with and without disabilities. Yet despite a two-percent drop in median income --to $49,445-- workers without disabilities’ earned more than workers with disabilities. Male workers without disabilities earned an average of $6,525 more than male workers with disabilities. Working women without disabilities earned $37,028/year compared with working women with disabilities, who earned $31,851 per year.
Today, White House officials will be hosting a live event to answer the public’s questions on President Obama’s job creation plan: the American Jobs Act. The President says this plan will “put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans”. People with disabilities and our supporters need to know whether the AJA will put more Americans with Disabilities back to work. If we are to change these Census numbers in years to come, our community needs jobs. Let’s make sure the administration hears our concerns and creates policy solutions that benefit all working Americans.