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HomeNewsWhy disabled people's benefits must be increased in line with inflation

Why disabled people’s benefits must be increased in line with inflation

UNDER PRESSURE: New Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Picture – SHUTTERSTOCK

DISABILITY charities are demanding benefits be increased in-line with inflation rather than wages, as a new study shows the extent to which disabled people were struggling to make ends meet even before the cost-of-living crisis.

According to findings from the Sense charity survey, disabled people are:

  • Three times more likely to be behind on bills or in debt compared to non-disabled people;
  • Three times more likely to be unable to afford access to adequate food than those with no disability, and;
  • Three times more likely to be unable to heat their home than those with no disability – rising to eight times for people with more complex needs.

Richard Kramer, Sense chief executive, said: “The current cost-of-living crisis has worsened an already precarious financial situation for disabled people – with those with more complex needs, and their families, facing the hardest time.

“The Government must recognise the scale of the crisis and impact on disabled people and commit to increasing benefits in-line with inflation.”

Gemma Hope, director of policy at Leonard Cheshire, said: “Leonard Cheshire analysis also shows that current support falls woefully short and many disabled people are desperate for more targeted support during this crisis.

“Support with energy bills must immediately target disabled people and households most vulnerable to energy price increases, especially if benefits do not rise with inflation as has been promised.”

Helen Walker, Carers UK chief executive, said: “Unpaid carers are particularly vulnerable to rising costs due to their limited ability to earn an income, and they have extra costs to meet that they cannot cut back on. The new Chancellor must do the right thing and ensure Carer’s Allowance and its associated premia are uprated in line with inflation.”

Around two million people live with sight loss in the UK, and 340,000 of these are registered blind or partially sighted.

Even before prices began to rise, one in five blind and partially sighted people said they had some or great difficulty in making ends meet, with the cost of living crisis making the situation even worse.

Matt Stringer, RNIB chief executive, said: “A reversal of the promise by the Government to raise benefits in line with inflation would be a devastating blow. Targeted support is needed now to help those impacted by rising costs in all areas of their lives and stop people being pushed into hardship.”

Nicky Shaw, Blind Veterans UK Director of Operations, said: “The blind and partially sighted, including the blind veterans we support, need action to allow them to cope with the cost of living crisis.”

Joanne Creighton, Glaucoma UK chief executive, said: “Raising benefits in line with wages and not inflation in the midst of the cost of living crisis equates to a severe reduction in vital support for many people affected by sight loss in our communities, and will be highly detrimental to their quality of life.”

Fiona Sandford, Visionary chief executive, said: “Many of the people we represent are currently experiencing significant financial hardship and it is imperative that action is taken now to reverse the damaging impact that rising costs will have on already challenging lives.”

Charles Colquhoun, Thomas Pocklington Trust chief executive, said: “Any further weakening of the link between benefit increases and inflation will leave low income blind and partially sighted people facing real difficulty.”



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