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Blog Post 30 November 2022 Updated 13 June 2023

How can disabled people get help with energy bills?

Disabled people across the UK are disproportionately feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis. 


Having a disability is already linked to higher living costs and home energy needs, so high energy prices are having an even bigger impact on disabled people.

According to disability equality charity Scope, of the two thirds of disabled adults who saw their energy bills rise, 48% said it had worsened their long-standing health condition. A similar percentage also reported a decline in their mental health (figures from February 2022).

How many people are affected?

There are 14.6 million disabled people in the UK.


As of April 2023, it’s estimated that 3.6 million disabled people are in fuel poverty.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that between June to September 2022 almost 55% of disabled adults found it hard to afford their energy bills.

ONS also found that disabled adults are more likely to have cut back their spending on food and other essentials because of the cost-of-living crisis. 

What challenges do disabled people face during the cost-of-living crisis?

Living costs were already higher for disabled people before the cost-of-living crisis.

Right now, a household with at least one disabled adult or child needs around £975 extra a month on average to have the same standard of living as a non-disabled household.

Extra costs for disabled people might include:

  • Powering medical or specialist equipment, such as an electric wheelchair or hoist.
  • Travel, such as taking taxis more frequently because public transport isn’t accessible.
  • Needing to have the heating on for longer or more often to make their homes more comfortable.

Alongside this, disabled people are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people. Disabled people are also more likely to be living below the poverty line. 

Mark Hodgkinson, chief executive at Scope, said: 

“Life costs more if you are disabled – many disabled people have no choice but to use energy to power vital medical equipment, keep their temperature stable or continually run household appliances. This cost-of-living crisis is compounded by the fact benefits are not increasing in line with inflation. People simply do not have enough money to live on.” 

Richard Kramer, chief executive at Sense, said: 

“Disabled households are more likely to be in receipt of benefits, out of work with less income and savings. This is made worse by having to pay for disability-associated expenses, such as therapies and insurance, as well as facing higher energy costs to run essential equipment, like feeding machines and ventilators. 

“While the Government decides whether or not to increase benefits, disabled people and their families struggle with spiralling bills and face agonising decisions, like choosing between heating and eating.” 

What support is available?

If you’re disabled, there’s financial help available to you.

Help with energy bills

The £400 energy bills discount from the Energy Bills Support scheme ended for most households in March 2023

If you’re on a traditional pre-payment meter and received vouchers for your £400 energy bills discount, you have until 30 June to redeem them.

Warm home discount

You may be able to get help through the Warm Home Discount Scheme this winter. This provides £150 off your electricity bill if you receive certain benefits.

The scheme opens again in October 2023 for winter 2023 to 2024.

Cost-of-living support payment

You may be eligible for Cost of Living payments. You could get up to five payments, including a £150 Disability Cost of Living payment. 

You have to be on certain benefits to get these payments.

Cost of Living Payments are available in:

You don’t need to do anything to apply. If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefits payments.


Priority services register

Being on the Priority Services Register may also help you. It’s a free support service that you can join if you’re eligible (this includes if you’re disabled or have a long-term medical condition) that helps you manage your energy.  

The benefits of being on the register include: 

  • priority support in emergencies 
  • regular meter reading services 
  • a nominee scheme 

To join the register, contact your energy supplier or network operator. You can use this Citizens Advice tool to check who your energy supplier is. 

Be aware of scammers

When you’re looking for information about financial support, watch out for scammers who may try to trick you into giving away your financial or personal information.

Our blog on how to spot an energy scam has more information to keep you safe. 


What needs to be done to fill the gap in support for disabled people?

In 2022, Ofgem released the findings of a review looking at how suppliers are helping customers that are in a vulnerable situation. The findings showed that all 17 suppliers need to make improvements, with five suppliers showing severe weaknesses in their service. Another five suppliers were found to have moderate weaknesses.

Ofgem has started the process of compliance engagement with the energy providers to work on correcting these failings. 

Disability equality charities have also called on the UK Government to provide more support to disabled people during the cost-of-living crisis. They argue that more must be done to account for disabled people because they’re disproportionately affected by price rises. 

The top actions recommended by Sense and Scope include:

  • A benefits system that is better suited to actual needs.
  • Adequate financial support for higher energy costs.
  • Targeted support for disabled people and their families.
  • A social tariff specifically for disabled people.
  • Benefits to increase in line with inflation. 

If you’re struggling to cope, there are people you can talk to

The Samaritans helpline is open 24 hours a day if you need someone to talk to.  

If you need support with your mental health, there is help available from Mind. 

You can also contact Scope for disability energy support, including free energy and water advice, or Citizens Advice to get help with the cost of living.   

Last updated: 13 June 2023