The measurement of material deprivation for those not at work due to an illness or disability is different in the national context compared to the EU context. In the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), disability is based on the concept of global activity limitation. This is defined as a “limitation in activities people usually do because of health problems for at least the past six months”. The severe material deprivation rate is defined as the share of the population with an enforced lack of at least 4 out of 9 material deprivation items. Based on the 2018 EU-SILC data, the Irish severe material deprivation rate for people aged 16 years or over who have some or severe limitation in their level of activities because of health problems was 8.1%. It should be noted that the Irish rate is provisional.
The CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions provides data on people aged 16 years and over who are not at work due to illness or disability. The deprivation rate is defined as the share of the population with an enforced lack of at least 2 out of a list of 11 items. The most recent data from the 2018 Survey on Income and Living Conditions, published by the CSO in November, shows that the deprivation rate for people not at work due to illness or disability was 36.7%, a reduction on the 2017 figure of 45.9%.
As announced in Budget 2019, my Department has commissioned research into the cost of disability. Indecon International Consultants have been commissioned to carry out the research which will include the direct experience of people with disabilities. It is hoped that this research, when complete, will inform policy direction in relation to the provision of adequate supports to meet the needs of people with disabilities from a whole-of-Government perspective and further reduce the rate of deprivation in the context of the European average.
In addition, given the continuing economic recovery and the measures introduced in recent Budgets, I expect to see the poverty data for 2019 and 2020, when they become available, to show further improvements over the 2018 outcomes. I will continue to work with my Government colleagues to ensure that the economic recovery is experienced in all regions and by all families, households and individuals.