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Abstract

The economic self-sufficiency and independence of people with disabilities depend largely on their capacity to maintain financial stability. As a group, such individuals have among the highest poverty rates, lowest educational levels, lowest average incomes, and highest out-of-pocket expenses of all population groups. Any substantial shock to the financial stability of people with disabilities can threaten their access to necessary housing, nutrition, medical care, and other resources, the absence of which may result in further vulnerability and possible poverty. This article offers a theoretical framework for understanding disability poverty risk. Empirical studies are needed to test this model, quantifying the specific risk factors and identifying coping mechanisms used by people with disabilities to reduce vulnerability. The results will have important implications at the individual, service provider, and policy levels.

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