Coronavirus: information and updates

Disabled people facing £1 billion shortfall in support due to spiralling living costs

Nearly 3 million disabled people are facing on average £367 a year shortfall in support. [1]

Analysis by disability equality charity Scope warns of £1 billion shortfall in financial support due to failure to increase benefits in line with inflation.

As energy price rise hits, charity calls for urgent financial support to prevent more disabled people being plunged into poverty.

Benefits have been uprated 3.1 per cent, based on inflation rates from September last year.

However with the Bank of England now forecasting average inflation of 9.5 per cent over the coming year[2], Scope is warning that the gap is equivalent to a shortfall in support of up to £505 for those who face the highest living costs.[3]

Based on the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) figures about the number of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) recipients, Scope has calculated a potential overall shortfall of £1 billion in support for disabled people this year.

James Taylor, executive director at disability equality charity Scope, said:

“As energy, fuel and food costs spiral, Scope’s analysis shows millions of disabled people are facing a devastating real-terms drop in financial support and will be at least £367 a year worse off this year.

“The failure to uprate benefits in line with current inflation shows a distinct lack of awareness from government that life costs a lot more when you’re disabled.

“Disabled people have no choice but to use more energy to charge vital equipment and keep warm. Many rely on their own vehicles to get around. Disabled people have already been cutting back for months and there’s nothing left to cut back. Many are now borrowing money from friends and family to make ends meet [4].

“The Government has said it will uprate disability benefits again next April in line with this year’s inflation, but what are disabled people supposed to do for the next 12 months if they can’t afford basic essentials like food and heating?

“We are facing the worst cost of living crisis in decades and need action now, not in a year’s time. The government must announce direct financial support for disabled people, and at a minimum, make sure PIP matches rises in living costs.

“The expansion of the Household Support Fund may provide some limited relief, but like the rise in National Insurance thresholds and a cut to fuel duty, it’s not targeted at disabled people who are at the sharp end of these spiralling costs.”

Notes to editor:

1. Calculations based on DWP figures for numbers of claimants and benefit rates. DWP figures from January 2022 showed there were 2,883,653 people in receipt of PIP. To account for awards that were less than a year, Scope calculated a weighted average based on the duration of the award to reach an overall shortfall figure of £1 billion.

2. Scope calculated an annual average for 2022 to 2023 based on quarterly projections for inflation in the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Report.

3. For claimants in receipt of enhanced mobility and higher rate daily living component of PIP, the shortfall would be equivalent to £505. Personal Independence Payment rates.

4. 10 per cent of disabled people are borrowing money from friends and family to 5% for non-disabled people - Office for National Statistics, Impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain: 


Opens in a new windowOpens an external siteOpens an external site in a new window