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Report on the right of persons with disabilities to social protection

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities


17 August 2015



This report explains how Social Protection systems contribute to social and economic development, stressing their importance as a key strategy to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reduce poverty and inequality, and enhance human potential.

Social protection is fundamental to promote the inclusion and active participation of persons with disabilities in the community. To achieve disability-inclusive social protection, States must move away from traditional welfare approaches, and embrace instead the innovative rights-based model put forward by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Social protection constitutes an essential condition for social and economic development for all. Effective national social protection systems can contribute to building inclusive societies and social cohesion by protecting individuals from social risk and deprivation. They are not only a powerful instrument for providing income security and reducing poverty and inequality, but play an important role in enhancing human potential, enabling individuals to access food, health care, education, employment and financial means.

While there is no internationally agreed definition of social protection, the term is most commonly used to refer to a variety of public and private interventions aimed at securing the well-being of a person in the event of social risk and need, such as (a) lack of work-related income, (b) unaffordable access to health care and (c) insufficient family and child support.

The report explains the disproportionate impact of poverty among persons with disabilities, and makes the case for the need to transform social protection systems to become disability-inclusive. It further elaborates on the need to pay special attention to the participation of women and girls, as well as other constituencies affected by multiple forms of discrimination.

The report provides guidelines on the key elements for Social Protection systems to be inclusive, from the legal frameworks and participatory system designs, to the eligibility and targeting of beneficiaries, and the quality and relevance of benefits. Specific considerations are elaborated on the key principles of non-discrimination, accessibility and the participation of all relevant stakeholders in every stage of the process, from design to implementation.

Inputs Received
Inputs Received

Download questionnaire: EnglishFrench and Spanish

All inputs received in accessible formats are available below. Non-accessible formats are available upon request at [email protected].

National Human Rights Institutions
Civil Society, including Organizations of Persons with Disabilities