Research into complex disabilities and the cost of living

Our new research, produced with the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), shows that even before the current crisis:

  • Orange radiator

    Almost a quarter (24%) of people with complex disabilities were unable to keep their homes warm enough.

  • Seven in ten (69%) people with complex disabilities had less than £1,500 in savings to rely on.

  • Orange coins

    Only 13% of people with complex disabilities in full-time work. Nearly a third (29%) draw on support from Universal Credit.

Why are disabled people affected more by the cost of living crisis?

Disabled people are more likely to be living in poverty, and less likely to be in full-time work. 

On top of this, many disabled people face higher energy costs. This is because they may need specialist equipment, like motorised wheelchairs or feeding pumps. These need electricity to run.

They may also need to spend money on things like therapies, carers and insurance.

The support offered by the government is not enough

In recent weeks, the UK government has taken some action. However, for the thousands of people with complex disabilities who were already facing the prospect of going without heating this winter, this support simply won’t be enough to allow them to make ends meet

What we’re asking for:

A benefits system that meets disabled people’s needs.

Benefits should urgently be uprated in line with inflation, and there should be a review on how the benefits rates are set so that people can live.

Additional financial support to cope with higher energy costs. 

We would like to see a social tariff introduced so that people who have to use more energy to run vital equipment aren’t unfairly impacted by energy prices.  The changes to eligibility for the warm homes discount should also be reversed.

Targeted support for disabled children and their families. 

More recognition needs to be given to families caring for disabled children and the financial challenges they are facing.

Read the research briefing

You can see a full summary of our research with NatCen Social Research here.