What kinds of extra costs do disabled people face?

Wheelchairs and other equipment

You might think essential equipment like the wheelchair you need is provided free but people often have to find funding themselves to get the wheelchair that’s right for them. Surely that’s wrong?

Sulaiman says,

"Due to my complex and fluctuating needs the standard powered wheelchair offered to me on the NHS was completely unsuitable. It didn’t tilt and recline which meant that I wouldn't even be able to breathe while sitting in it. A basic necessity really!

I now need a new wheelchair and seating that will set me back approximately £35,000. It is incredibly difficult to get funding for these sorts of wheelchairs and yet they are absolutely essential to me being able to get on and live my life to its fullest potential."

Clothes

Clothing is an absolute necessity but, when you’re a wheelchair user or trip or fall a bit more, it’s amazing how quickly things need to be replaced. If you're disabled it costs you on average £100 extra a month for clothes.

Bill says,

"I wear a suit to work every day and constantly have to change suits because I have to carry everything about on my lap. So you can imagine it rubs away and my shoes get scraped when I try to transfer. So you’re constantly going through. And I would imagine most disabled folk are the same. You know you just go through a lot more stuff." 

Children's equipment and toys

It’s expensive enough being a parent, without having to pay over the odds for basic equipment or being left out of pocket just trying to bring up your kids. Is it right that families are being stung by high costs and don’t get the support so they can afford essentials?

Amanda says,

"Cutlery for my son costs a fortune. For one spoon, one knife, one fork and one teaspoon, it costs £31. And that was after shopping around for the cheapest set." 

Becky says,

"Price of a regular bike for a child £50 approx. Cost of a bike for a disabled child £1,000 approx. Some people are making a fortune out of our children’s disabilities. Makes me so angry!" 

Transport

Transport is a big cost for some disabled people, with many having to rely on taxis or facing expensive parking charges just to do basic things like shopping, going to hospital appointments or getting to work. It adds up to an average of £174 extra a month.

Sara says,

"I would like to save but recently have had to buy or pay out for things like my adapted Motability car."  

Travel

Disabled or not, why shouldn’t you have a couple of weeks holiday abroad each year? But basic travel insurance can cost three times as much if you are a wheelchair user for example.

Insurance isn’t the only problem either. Some disabled people also miss out on last-minute offers and deals due to inaccessible hotel rooms, transport or destinations and many have to pay a premium to stay closer to facilities and attractions.

Wag says,

"Family holiday to Florida. Son needs a car with a wheelchair ramp and straps. The holiday package had a free hire car. Not for us - An extra £2,000! Same model as the freebie ones (cars). We expected a surcharge but £1,000 a week?" 

What support do you get?

Life costs £550 more on average a month if you happen to be disabled. The examples above are just some of the costs people face and it varies from person to person.

While you might get some extra support to help cover these costs, disabled people still, on average, only receive £360 towards these extra costs from what's called Disability Living Allowance, leaving you around £200 short at the end of the month!

And with the change from Disability Living Allowance to the new system of Personal Independence Payments, the way people are assessed means more than 600,000 disabled people could lose support. 

Get involved in the campaign and help change these costs

Marie holding her baby son

“We’ve been fighting for the right wheelchair for 18 months. It’s serious. My brother had the same condition as me, and he died because he didn't have the right wheelchair.

His powerchair tipped over, he broke his skull and got a clot on the brain that they couldn’t remove.

These wheelchairs are expensive. I ideally need one that's £8,000, money we just haven’t got.”

Marie, Milton Keynes