Disabled face living costs penalty, says Scope

image copyrightScience Photo Library
image captionExtra costs can range from insurance to clothes

People with disabilities face a "premium" of £550 a month owing to extra transport, insurance and living costs, a charity has claimed.

Scope said that the benefits available to disabled people did not cover the extra cost, at only £360 a month.

The findings will now be studied by a commission aiming to find out how disabled consumers can get better deals.

It will spend a year interviewing disabled people and organisations.

'Financial penalty'

The research by Scope suggested that one in 10 disabled people paid more than £1,000 a month extra on their lives owing to their disability.

Common extra costs included taking a taxi to work and paying for specialist equipment such as wheelchairs.

However, there was also a premium on more specialist items, such as lightweight kettles and cutlery for those who face difficulties using their hands.

Insurance costs tended to be higher, most notably for travel, the charity found.

"We want to end this financial penalty. That is why we are launching a commission to find ways to drastically bring down the premium disabled people pay," said Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope.

People with disabilities do receive financial help from the benefits system. However, the Personal Independence Payment and its predecessor, the Disability Living Allowance, still left people with a cost of living shortfall, the charity said.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said Scope's report pre-dated many benefit changes, but raised some important issues.

"No one should have to pay excessive costs because they are disabled, as Scope rightly highlight," said Mark Harper, minister for disabled people.

"We are absolutely committed to supporting disabled people and continue to spend around £50bn a year on disabled people and their services. But many businesses are failing to adapt their services and goods for the 12 million disabled people in this country, subsequently driving up prices."

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