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Inequality, not impairment, increases costs for disabled people

Inequality, not impairment, increases costs for disabled people
5th March 2019 Ian Streets

Disability equality charity Scope is calling on the government to take action after publishing a study which shows the rising costs facing disabled adults and families with disabled children.
The Disability Price Tag 2019 explored costs ranging from holidays and going out for a meal to replacing worn-out furniture and keeping a home nicely decorated. It found that families with disabled children paid more in every category than those without disabled children.
Key findings were that on average disabled people face extra costs of £583 per month, one in five disabled people face extra costs of more than £1,000 per month and on average a disabled person’s extra costs add up to more than half of their income – not including housing.
Scope compared the difference in the standard of living experienced by disabled people and non-disabled people, taking into account their ability to afford various items and perform certain everyday tasks.
The recommendations which resulted focus on the role of government, with additional recommendations promised later this year on how markets should respond.
The Department for Work and Pensions is urged to work with disability organisations, disabled people and their families to ensure financial support is not lost as a result of Universal Credit. The report also calls for reform of the Personal Independent Payment system and changes to the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount.
Scope is looking to work in partnership with stakeholders across different sectors to research in more detail how markets should function for disabled people, but the latest report gives examples of their findings so far.
Specialist goods and services including therapies, play equipment and even cutlery all come at a cost which does not have to be borne by non-disabled people.
Non-specialist services can also be more expensive, with powered wheelchairs using additional electricity and disabled people having to use taxis because of limitations with buses and trains.
Insurance is another area of concern with 26 per cent of disabled people saying they have been charged higher premiums or refused cover altogether because of their impairment or condition.
The report states: “What we uncovered was startling inequality driven by the excessive payments that disabled people end up making for essential goods and services. It makes it harder to build savings and plan for the future. In short, it makes it harder for disabled people to participate fully in society.
“Government and businesses need to do more to ensure disabled people have fair and affordable access to the goods and services needed to enjoy an equal standard of living. It is inequality rather than disability that makes life more expensive if you are disabled. This is unacceptable.”
To read the full report please visit https://www.scope.org.uk/news-and-stories

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