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Health Equity in Africa

Elements of the financial and economic costs of disability to households in South Africa

Elements of the financial and economic costs of disability to households in South Africa

This study was commissioned as part of South Africa’s efforts to ‘accelerate the implementation of the CRPD’ under the leadership of the former South African Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities – the Department of Social Development in collaboration with UNICEF. The study identifies the elements of economic vulnerability to households with people with disabilities in South Africa. It serves as an international benchmark and is potentially the first study in a LMIC that investigates opportunity costs and out-of-pocket costs combined for households with different types of disabilities. Selected results of the study are made available via the DSD. Key outputs of this study include presentations that were made in consultative meetings and a dissemination workshop with the Department of Social Development (in October 2014, Johannesburg), a technical meeting on social protection with the ILO and IDA (Geneva 2015) and the 3 Sessions of the UNPRPD in Dublin 2015 as well as a paper written in 2015 by Hannass-Hancock and Degave titled Financial and Economic Costs of Disability in South Africa: A Pilot study, UNICEF/DSD.


The study seeks to describe elements of economic vulnerability as related to health, education and employment. In particular the study seeks to:

  • Estimate opportunity costs of disability for households with disabled family members (both adults and children)
  • Estimate disability-related out-of-pocket costs (e.g. support, accommodation and assistive devices) currently borne by people with disabilities and their households
  • Identify the effect of a disability grant and extent of current tax rebates claimed (or reimbursed) for disability-related expenses
  • Analyse budget allocations and disability-related costs for people with disabilities when accessing services (only education, health and employment) which are currently borne by households with disabled family members, but which should be borne by the state
  • Determine the types and range of services needed to accommodate persons and children with disabilities in South Africa in order to reduce economic vulnerability.