Disabled living in poverty - study

2010-05-14 15:30
Johannesburg - Many disabled South Africans are living in poverty without access to the government's disability grant, a University of Johannesburg study has found.

"Contrary to popular beliefs that the disabled live on social grants, the study found that 61% of the respondents interviewed in eight of the poorest wards in Johannesburg are not accessing the disability grant," said researcher Lauren Graham.

The study into poverty among the disabled was conducted by the university's centre for social development in Africa. Its findings were released on Friday.

Many respondents did not know about the disability grant or how to apply for it, said Graham.

Others claimed they did not have identity documents which would allow them to quality for the government grant.

Respondents also cited "red tape" and poor treatment by officials as reasons they did not make use of the grant.

Graham said people with disabilities were still experiencing discrimination and were being "pushed to the margins of society".

"Limited work opportunities and discrimination in the labour market are other factors that hampered their access to employment," she said.

"For those not employed, they expressed great frustration with their lack of capability to secure a livelihood."

The study suggested that government needed to play a greater role in ensuring that the disabled received education and skills development.

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