‘I have to pay £12,000 more a year on bills and travel just because I’m disabled’

By Staff

Disability advocate Amelia Peckham has shared her personal experience of the financial struggles she faces, as it’s revealed the average disabled Brit has to pay £12,000 extra each year

A campaigner has revealed the staggering extra costs disabled Brits have to pay each year on bills and travel.

Disability advocate Amelia Peckham, who was left partially paralysed from the waist down after she broke her back aged 19 in a quad biking accident, has shared her personal experience of the financial struggles she faces on an everyday basis. She also expressed fears of how recent proposals by the Government to overhaul Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefits could seriously impact the most vulnerable people in society.

Amy, who is co-founder of Cool Crutches & Walking Sticks, explained how new research from disability charity Scope shows disabled households with at least one disabled adult or child need an extra £975 a month to have the same standard of living as non-disabled households. This adds up to almost an extra £12,000 a year, even after taking disability benefits into account.

Disabled individuals are more likely to struggle with energy bills, with a recent government survey showing over half (55%) are finding it difficult to afford them. Many disabled people have no choice but to use more energy to power vital medical equipment. Almost half (45%) of disabled adults have also found it difficult to afford their rent or mortgage payments.

Amy said: “In my experience, I suffer from a lack of circulation as a result of nerve damage and so rely on heating and hot baths to maintain comfort and functionality. This has a huge impact on bills – hot water bottles, electric blankets, heating, it all adds up.

“Similarly, a range of mobility equipment is often needed and small maintenance, replacement parts, need to be considered. Anything from needing two crutches on a bad day to switching between no mobility aid, a walking stick, crutches, a wheelchair and a power chair means the amount of kit we need to ensure we can move on any given day is huge. All too often these costs are little but frequent and they add up.”

Amy points out as well that disabled people may struggle to find work, which means they are often at home more. She said: “This pushes the cost onto a lower-income household and increases the time spent at home vs. an office which then costs to keep warm, comfortable and mobile are significant when income isn’t.”

Amy also called travelling with a disability a “minefield” as not all train stations are accessible and step-free. This means some disabled people are then forced to rely on taxis and more expensive forms of transport, instead of using cheaper methods.

She said: “It’s rare when a journey on public transport with a disability goes smoothly, we often leave additional time but that comes at a cost too. Travelling to London for an event last week meant travelling the day before to ensure I arrived in time, staying overnight (cost of hotel) to be able to attend the next morning before travelling back that afternoon (which was via a delayed train, meant I missed the connecting train and so had to order a taxi). It’s exhausting and expensive both in time and monetary terms.”

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