- Disabled people are being forced to stay at home due to the rising cost of living
The cost-of-living crisis is affecting tens of millions of people around the UK, but some of the worst hit are disabled people and their carers. It has become so bad that some disabled people are choosing between heating, food, and petrol.
With energy bills increasing, food prices rising, and petrol prices reaching a record high, people are being forced to make cutbacks. However, some disabled people are past the point of being able to make any more cutbacks. Some now find themselves in the situation of not being able to afford to get by and buy the basics. Other disabled people who rely on their cars to help with their mental health are forced to stay at home.
For some disabled people, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the main benefit they rely on. However, with it not keeping in line with inflation, and with the rising living costs, some disabled people are finding themselves going further into debt.
The Bank of England has now forecasted that the average inflation over the coming year is 9.5 per cent. However, PIP has only increased by 3.1 per cent. That means, some disabled people could lose out by as much as £505 per year in vital support. It may not sound a lot to MPs who do not live in the real world, but to disabled people, it is a fortune.
The Government has promised to look at disabled benefits again next year, but for those people who are struggling now, next year is a lifetime away. With the continued rise in the cost of living, some people who suffer from mental health problems are now on the edge, while other disabled people are now requesting for the first-time support for their mental health.
With news that energy costs are going up in October and could increase again in the New Year, we have received lots of emails from worried disabled people in Skegness, Manchester, Lincoln, Grimsby, Blackpool, Liverpool, and London.
One woman from Skegness has said that she relies on her car so she can go shopping but now she is being forced to order online from her local supermarket and pay for it to be delivered.
Sarah from Skegness explained: “Going shopping once or twice a week helps to get me out of the house. I live on my own so going shopping allows me to see other people. But now, with the rise in petrol prices, I can only afford to go to the shops once a month. This means that I am not getting bargains and my shopping bill is more expensive.”
It is not just Sarah who is finding herself driving her car less frequently. Mark from Manchester has said that when he got his last year through the mobility scheme filling his petrol tank cost just £58, but now it costs him nearly £100.
“I suffer from depression. My health advisor has said that it is important that I go out to different places to help with my mental health. Being given a car helped my mental health and improved my depression. My wife saw a huge change in me, but now I am going backwards. I cannot afford to go out as much due to the cost of petrol and the rise in the cost of living. I fear for my health.”
There are thousands of people in the same situation as Mark who is now confined to his home due to the high cost of living. But it is not just about how it is affecting disabled people leaving the house, it is also about how it affects the support they receive.
Millions of disabled people rely on unpaid carers to help them. But, due to the high cost of living and rising petrol prices, some of those heroes are unable to visit those that need their support as much. We have heard shocking stories of how some disabled people have gone from receiving support from family and friends each day to only receiving the support they need every two days and some once a week. That is not just down to the high cost of living but that is also down to the Government not appreciating the work that carers do.
Lisa from Scunthorpe who has been disabled for more than ten years and relies on her sister to provide the support she needs including bathing has said more needs to be done to support carers.
She explained that now due to the cost of living her sister can only visit her every two days. It is not just about the physical support she provides explained Lisa, but it is also about her mental health.
“Living on my own I get lonely. I rely on my TV to keep me company when my sister does not visit. I wished the Government would take more action.”
To help support unpaid carers, some people who have contacted In2town have said they would like to see carers receive 100% rebate on their council tax bill. Other disabled people have also said that carers should receive a discount at the pumps or be given a petrol allowance each year. What they all agree on is, that carers are not receiving the backing they deserve.
It is feared that if the cost-of-living crisis is not dealt with then more disabled people will be forced to stay at home, while others will have to miss meals in winter to pay for their heating bills. Some charities have stated that the cost-of-living crisis could cost lives.
If you are disabled, then share how the rise in the cost of living is affecting you. Visit our official Twitter page to let us know https://twitter.com/in2townmagazine