Impact of the Cost of Living crisis on those with a disability or long-term health condition

For those people who are living with a disability or long- term health condition, both our local and national figures show that they are being impacted by the cost of living crisis more than those without any health issues. Locally, 64% of clients seen between April and June classed themselves as having a disability or long- term health condition. 36% presented with multiple impairments, which shows the added complexities of our client group. Both of these figures are 4% higher than they were in the previous quarter. Data from National Citizens Advice also echoes this. May 2023 saw over 50,000 people with disabilities or long - term health conditions contacting us for advice relating to the cost of living. This figure is higher than any other group. National figures also show that the number of food bank referrals made in April and May 2023 was much higher for those who are disabled or who have long-term health conditions compared with those without health issues

National data also shows that the number of clients with disabilities or long term health conditions coming to us for help with debt issues who are also in a negative budget is consistently higher than those clients without any health issues. Over 50% of clients fall in to this category. May 2023 saw almost 6000 clients helped with charitable support compared with around 3400 clients who did not identify any health issues. This shows a huge disparity between the extra help needed between these two client groups.

Locally, we are seeing huge increases in the number of clients seeking our help and advice regarding non means tested benefits. We have seen an increase of 42% on enquiries about Attendance Allowance compared to April-June 2022 and increase of 16% on enquiries about Personal Independence Payment. This highlights how much those who have disabilities or long term health conditions are looking to increase their income as much as possible and that it is spanning both working age clients and those above pension age.

The huge figures highlighted above are occurring despite the fact that the majority of those clients would likely have been eligible for both of the Cost of Living Payments that have been paid between April and June. Those with disabilities or long term health conditions are more likely to have increased energy bills. This could be due to medication that needs to be kept refrigerated, medical equipment that requires an energy source, clothes and bedding may need to be washed more frequently or they may need to keep their heating on for much longer periods if they are impacted more by lower temperatures. They are more likely to have frequent medical appointments which are likely to incur travel costs and they may have stricter dietary requirements or are limited in what they can do to prepare and cook a meal resulting in much higher food bills. All of these issues coupled with the rising costs of the rest of their bills, rent and many other expenses whilst also trying to manage a disability or a long term health condition highlights just how much this group are struggling.

It is therefore vital that at Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding, we continue to provide help and support to anyone that needs it from us.

We continue to gather and report evidence of the cost of living crisis that members of our community are facing to National Citizens Advice to allow them to continue their vital campaign work.

Finally, we continue our ongoing recruitment drive for volunteer advisers who give up their time to support the most vulnerable members of our local communities. We have a variety of opportunities available across all of our offices.

For more information on this and how to access advice, please visit our website


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