Disabled people in the UK are much more likely to struggle to heat their homes and cut back on food this winter, according to a report. Research from the Resolution Foundation found people with disabilities had an available amount to spend that was about 44% lower than that of other working-age adults. This means they often can’t keep up with the rising cost of essentials.
Nearly 48% of disabled people had to cut back on energy useage compared to approximately 33% of nondisabled people, according to the report.
Additionally, approximately two-fifths of people with a disability (41%) said they could not afford to keep their homes warm, compared with 23% of the non-disabled population.
Food insecurity is also common among disabled people. In the UK, disabled people utilized food banks three times more than the non-disabled population in 2020. In addition, 62% of working-age adults referred to food banks that year were disabled.
Freya Hunter, 12, has severe cerebral palsy and requires oxygen for chronic respiratory problems. Last year, the family’s energy costs were £6,500 yearly, a little over $7,000 USD. However, Clackmannanshire Council told her mother that the bill for Freya’s “hospital at home” may reach £17,000 this year. £17,000 is over $19,000 USD.
Her mother, Carolynne, launched an online fundraising campaign to help defray the costs. Kate Winslet, who starred in the 1997 movie Titanic heard about the family’s plight. Winslet donated £30,000 toward Freya’s medical expenses and personally called them. The generous donation is the equivalent of more than $35,000 USD.
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. Riley says that these benefits are not enough. Riley has diabetes and follows a specialized diet.
One of the foods he can eat is chicken. According to the July 2022 Consumer Price Index, the cost of chicken has increased by about 17% from 2021. In addition, Riley requires insulin and several medications to manage his diabetes.
Thankfully, his insurance covers these costs. Adults and children with type 1 diabetes pay an average of $2,500 per year out of pocket for supplies, according to a study conducted by The Journal of the American Medical Association. Insulin accounts for only 18% of total spending.
However, the cost of insulin is also astronomical. According to Dr. Adam Gaffney, a critical care physician at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, a month’s supply of insulin can cost $1,000 or more for people who are uninsured or have inadequate coverage.
Many disabled people struggle to find affordable, safe housing which further contributes to poverty. Margaret Davis has been unsuccessful in locating an affordable apartment. The 55-year-old receives about $750 from the federal government each month.
Davis is homeless despite receiving SSI benefits. Davis says she receives approximately $600 each month from the program. However, the average rent in Charlotte, NC, where she lives, is $1,500 a month. Davis is trying to save up for a place to live by living off $50 in cash, and $150 in SNAP benefits.
Nobody should have to go hungry. Disabled people around the globe should have access to nutritious food, and safe housing. Disabled people often struggle to afford necessities. Inflation has impacted millions of disabled people around the world.
Chua, Kao-Ping, et al. ‘Out-of-Pocket Spending for Insulin, Diabetes-Related Supplies, and Other Health Care Services Among Privately Insured US Patients With Type 1 Diabetes’. JAMA Internal Medicine, vol. 180, no. 7, July 2020, pp. 1012–1014, https://doi.org10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1308.
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.
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/.
Partington, Richard. “Disabled People among Hardest Hit by Cost of Living Crisis, Finds Study.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Jan. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jan/04/disabled-people-cost-of-living-crisis-energy-use-food-resolution-foundation.
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.
Weekes, Thomas. “The State of Hunger: It’s Not Right That Disabled People Are Being Forced to Turn to Food Banks.” The Trussell Trust, The Trussell Trust, 29 June 2021, https://www.trusselltrust.org/2021/06/28/the-state-of-hunger-its-not-right-that-disabled-people-are-being-forced-to-turn-to-food-banks/.
Zeldin-O’Neill, Sophie. “Kate Winslet Donates £17,000 to Mother for Daughter’s Life Support Energy Bills.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Nov. 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/nov/12/kate-winslet-donates-17000-to-mother-for-daughters-life-support-energy-bills.