Inflation Can Have Devastating Consequences For People With Disabilities:

CW: Poverty:

Freya Hunter, 12, has severe cerebral palsy and requires oxygen for chronic respiratory problems. Carolynne, her mother, told BBC Scotland that running the equipment and heating their home in Tillicoultry costs £6,500 each year, which is a little over $7,000 USD. However, Clackmannanshire Council told her that the bill for Freya’s “hospital at home” may reach £17,000 in 2023. £17,000 is over $19,000 USD.

The Hunters are one of the families whose financial future have been completely rewritten as a result of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s deconstruction of mini-budget initiatives. Carolynne feels that by sharing Freya’s story, governments will be encouraged to give funding to families that provide high-quality medical care for loved ones at home.

Globally, people with disabilities are impacted by inflation. Chip Riley of Adams Center, NY receives disability benefits. He also relies on SNAP benefits to buy groceries. In the U.S, the cost of food has increased by 13% in the past year. Last month, the price of lettuce increased by 6.8%, and the price of apples increased by 5%. Prices for potatoes increased by 3.5%.

Riley says he believes that his SNAP benefits are insufficient. Riley has diabetes, which means he can only eat certain items to stay on his specified diet. Foods that Riley is able to eat include chicken and pork. The cost of chicken has increased by nearly 17% since 2021, according to the July 2022 Consumer Price Index.

In addition, Riley’s diagnosis requires insulin along with several medications. He says that if those costs were not covered by insurance, he would be much worse off. According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with type 1 diabetes require two to three vials monthly on average. A month’s supply of insulin can cost $1,000 or more for the uninsured or those with inadequate coverage, according to Dr. Adam Gaffney, a critical care physician at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts.

Finding housing is especially difficult if you are disabled as well. Margaret Davis is 55-years-old and receives a monthly payment from the federal and state governments of about $750. She is attempting to save for a place to live by living on $50 in cash and $150 in SNAP benefits per month.

Despite receiving SSI benefits, Davis is still homeless. The average rent in Charlotte NC where Davis is currently living is $1,500 per month. This is an increase of 70% more over the last decade according to Zumper, which has been monitoring rental prices since 2014.

People with disabilities do not have enough accessible, affordable housing options. In February 2020, Apartment List conducted a study using information from the American Community Survey and the American Housing Survey. Only 9% of households with a disabled family member live in an accessible home, according to the study. Despite the fact that more than 15% of American households include a physically disabled individual, just 6% of homes are accessible.

Some disabled people receive disabilty benefits, and can qualify for Section 8. However, this can be a years-long process. Justin Smith hasn’t been able to receive a housing voucher yet for his accessible apartment, even though it has been nearly a year. Unfortunately, Justin’s situation is typical. Justin says that without his parent’s help he wouldn’t be able to live independently.

According to a CBPP analysis of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data, only two of the 50 largest housing agencies have average wait times of less than a year for families who have made it off the waiting list; the longest have wait times of up to eight years. On average, families waiting for vouchers had been on waitlists for more than 2.5 years nationally.

For millions of people with disabilities, inflation has proved to be extremely challenging to deal with. For me, inflation is difficult to deal with because I receive SSI benefits. However, I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, access to healthcare, a nice warm bed, and plenty of food in the house.

Sources:

Acosta, Sonya, and Erik Gartland. “Families Wait Years for Housing Vouchers Due to Inadequate Funding.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 22 July 2021, https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/families-wait-years-for-housing-vouchers-due-to-inadequate-funding.

Brasher, Philip. “Grocery Prices up Again in September, Driving Another Gain in CPI.” AgriPulse, Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., 13 Oct. 2022, https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/18365-grocery-prices-up-again-in-september-driving-another-gain-in-cpi.

Clasen-Kelly, Fred. “High Rents Outpace Federal Disability Payments, Leaving Many Homeless.” NPR, NPR, 15 Sept. 2022, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/09/15/1121848289/social-security-disability-inflation-poverty.

Hageman, Megan. “Demand for Chicken Is Skyrocketing despite Inflation.” Eat This Not That, Galvanized Media, 6 Sept. 2022, https://www.eatthis.com/chicken-demand-increasing-despite-inflation-september-2022/.

Lovelace Jr., Berkeley. “Insulin Prices: Many Adults with Diabetes Ration Insulin, Study Finds.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 17 Oct. 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/insulin-prices-many-adults-diabetes-ration-insulin-study-finds-rcna52287.

McCool, Mary. “Mum Faces £17,000 Energy Bill to Keep Disabled Daughter Alive.” BBC News, BBC, 19 Oct. 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-63314095.

Straub, Brendan. “Inflation Taking a Toll on People Living on Assistance, Fixed Incomes.” WWNY-TV, Gray Television , 13 Apr. 2022, https://www.wwnytv.com/2022/04/13/inflation-taking-toll-people-living-assistance-fixed-incomes/.

Smith, Justin. “Part 2: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Justin Smith Writes, WordPress, 19 Oct. 2022, https://justinsmithwrites.com/2022/10/19/part-2-mr-smith-goes-to-washington/.

Warnock, Rob. “How Accessible Is the Housing Market?” Apartment List , Apartment List, 19 February, 2020, http://www.apartmentlist.com/research/how-accessible-is-the-housing-market.

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