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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 4 - 10  > Number of welfare recipients with disabilities increases by 1.5 times in 10 years
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2018 July 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Number of welfare recipients with disabilities increases by 1.5 times in 10 years

July 8, 2018

More and more persons with physical or mental disabilities have no choice but to depend on welfare. A Welfare Ministry survey has shown that the number of livelihood support recipient households headed by a disabled person increased by 1.5 times in the past ten years.

The survey categorizes welfare recipient households into five types: those headed by a person with physical/mental impairment, by an elderly person, by a single or divorced mother, by a person with a serious injury or illness, and by others. After 1999, the number of the first type of household steadily increased. The figure exceeded 100,000 in 2004 and increased by 50% to 194,838 in ten years between 2007 and 2017.

In addition to households of the “disabled” type, there are many disabled persons living in households of the remaining four household types. The same government survey indicates that as of the end of July 2015, the numbers of disabled members were nearly 190,000 for the households of the “disabled” type and just under 200,000 for the other four types, totaling 384,998. This is 18.1% of all welfare recipients.

Traditionally, Japan’s welfare policies have been based on the notion that persons with physical/mental impairments should be mainly cared for by their families. As a result, many able-bodied members have to stay home to take care of disabled members and are unable to go out to work. This is another factor behind the poverty among households with disabled members. Another survey by the Welfare Ministry in December 2014 found that around a half of disability pension recipient households earn less than two million yen a year.

Successive governments have been slashing spending on social welfare programs, which led to a growing number of disabled persons on welfare. In particular, the Abe government’s series of cuts in public pension benefits delivered a heavy blow to welfare recipients.

On the other hand, the Japanese Communist Party underscores the need for government measures to raise the income level of disabled people. Concerning the disability pension program, the party proposes to increase the amount of benefits and improve the procedures in the screening application process for pension payments. In order to help the disabled to earn a wage, the party argues that it is necessary to change the rules pertaining to the minimum wage system and increase the quota for employees with impairments in companies.

Past related articles:
> One out of two working-age disabled people live on less than 90,000 yen a month [May 13, 2018]
> More and more disabled persons rely on welfare assistance [April 8, 2018]
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