THE Government’s long-awaited £150 Disability Cost of Living payments, which started to be paid into six million people’s banks today, are being met with scorn and derision.
The money is disproportionate to the additional needs faced by disabled people and will result in thousands falling into poverty, according to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).
Many people with a spinal cord injury are unable to regulate their body temperature so additional power is vital to maintain warmth.
The charity has been inundated with calls to its support line from spinal cord injured people who are worried about their additional costs this winter.
SIA boss Nik Hartley said: “Many are struggling to cope with the hidden additional energy costs they face such as heating and charging equipment, as well as often having additional outgoings such as large care costs, house adaptations and increased transport costs.”
He added: “Without greater intervention, many with spinal cord injuries will simply not be able to afford to pay their bills throughout this winter which could compromise their health leading to dangerous consequences.
“Until action is taken, the limited support available is disproportionate to the majority of disabled people’s needs.
“We fully support the idea of discounted energy tariffs for disabled customers and call on the Government to meet with the energy providers and implement this initiative as soon as possible.”
Those who receive personal independence payments or disability living allowance are getting the £150 payment, while those getting other forms of social security are getting the £650 Cost of Living Payment.
It’s all part of a £37 billion package of support, which the Government say will see millions of households receive at least £1,200 this year to help cover rising costs.
Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith said: “We know disabled people face additional costs and this Government is listening and taking decisive action to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
“In addition to the £150 Disability Cost of Living payment, households will save an average of £1,000 a year through our new Energy Price Guarantee and the lowest-income households will receive at least £1,200 to help with the rising cost of living this year.
“This multi-billion-pound package of support reinforces our commitment to help UK households, particularly those with disability challenges, through the tough times ahead.”