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It’s getting worse all the time, say disabled workers

coinsTWO-THIRDS of disabled people who are in work feel their financial situation has worsened in the last year, says a new survey.

Despite signs of an improving economy, 54% of disabled people are worried about their financial situation as they struggle with a combination of falling wages, shorter working hours and rising living costs.

The survey, released to coincide with national charity Turn2us’s annual Benefits Awareness Month, has found that on average, working disabled people are forced to spend over half of their monthly income on utility bills and food.

Worryingly, almost a half (47%) say their outgoings now outweigh their earnings.

With 1.4 million in part-time jobs nationally – 46,000 higher than a year ago – a huge 65% of those surveyed say they want to work more hours but they cannot get the work, while almost a third (30%) of those surveyed have seen a fall in their income in the last year.

Over half of the 13 million people living in poverty in the UK are now from working households.

Turn2us research found that nearly half (47%) of disabled people in work are not claiming the benefits and tax credits they may be entitled to. Even more alarming, 51% had not even checked their eligibility for this support, or did not know how to check what help may exist.

The toll this is taking on lives is severe, says the charity.

Almost half (49%) have had no choice but to cut back on food and other essentials. Health is also being put at risk with over two-fifths (42%) unable to sleep and nearly two-fifths (38%) experiencing depression.

In response to these ongoing problems, Turn2us Benefits Awareness Month is focusing on the huge numbers of people who are in work yet struggling to make ends meet.

The campaign, ‘Be Aware’, is encouraging everyone to check what financial support could be available by using Turn2us’ free, online Benefits Calculator.

The website also features information on support for different employment groups, so that people can access further help, whether they are employed full-time or part-time, self-employed, on zero contracts, or on leave.

Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us, said: “Our research shows that the stranglehold on pay, underemployment and the climbing cost of living all show no signs of easing and any economic improvements are failing to reach the UK’s poorest people. It’s clear that more needs to be done to combat poverty, especially for those people in work.

“Help is available in the form of Working Tax Credit and other welfare benefits and it can make a huge difference.

“We found that 85% of current claimants in work said benefits have had a positive impact on their lives and helped with housing costs, bills and even avoiding debt. The Turn2us ‘Be Aware’ campaign brings together our free Benefits Calculator and information so others can access this vital support.

“Our message is clear. Being in work does not mean the end of help. We want everyone to know they are not alone and to ‘Be Aware’ of the support that is available.”

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