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The cost of living crisis and its impact on people living with disabilities

View profile for Carla Duprey
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The cost of living crisis and its impact on people living with disabilities

We will all know that energy and petrol prices are going through the roof and I know that we will all be concerned about what impact this is having upon people. However, I am not sure that it has been fully appreciated what a devastating impact the cost of living crisis is having upon people who are living with disabilities.

The BBC highlighted recently that, with the equipment that disabled people needed to survive (i.e. a ventilator), their energy bills tend to be a lot higher than the general population.

The BBC confirmed that, ‘In 2019 a survey conducted by the charity Scope suggested one in three disabled people found their condition had a significant impact on their energy bills, contributing towards an overall £583 in extra costs each month’.

The recent energy price increase has led to disabled people restricting their activities and reducing their quality of life, so that they can afford to pay their energy bills. One of the cases reported on by the BBC was a terminally ill child (requiring a ventilator, nebuliser and oxygen concentrator) and her family confirmed that they wanted her to be able to enjoy the outside world as much as possible, rather than having to remain inside to be able to afford the machine that she requires.

The other case reported by the BBC was a man who required dialysis. He stated that he had turned his heating off at the end of January and had done everything that he could to reduce his outgoings, but he was still struggling and stated that he felt like he was being ‘priced out of existence’.

Dan White, from Disability Rights UK, has said that ‘People are having to use their benefits, which were put aside to pay for their social care and for their independence, into paying for food and bills, and it is still not enough’.

Even after the recent substantial increase in energy prices, there is currently no specific support to help people with disabilities or long term health conditions with their energy needs.

Disability Rights UK are calling for energy prices to be capped for disabled people and there is currently a petition online urging the government to provide grants specifically to people with a disability or serious medical condition 

Let’s hope some changes are made soon, but in the meantime, the Citizens Advice Bureau have detailed advice on their website about grants and benefits that are available to help to pay energy bills.

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