“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.”
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.
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