Documents to download

How disabled people are affected by the rising cost of living

High inflation in 2022 and 2023 has been driven by high energy and food costs. Disabled people spend a larger proportion of their total spending on these items, so are disproportionately affected by recent rises in the cost of living.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, in 2021, households with a disabled member spent 14.4% of their overall spending on food, while households with no disabled members spent 12.1% of their spending on food.  Disabled people also often face higher energy costs, as many need more heating to stay warm, and others have to use extra electricity to use and charge assistive technology. 

Disabled people also have lower incomes than average: the Resolution Foundation found in January 2023 that the gap in household income between adults with and without a disability was around 30% including disability benefits and 44% excluding disability benefits in the financial year 2020-21. A third of adults in the lowest household income decile are disabled. 

Citizens Advice reported in May 2023 that 60.5% of people it has helped with crisis support (including food banks and charitable support) since January 2022 have been disabled or had a long-term health issue.

Benefits support

The UK benefits system provides two broad types of financial support for people with disabilities and health conditions:

During the recent period of higher-than-target inflation, these benefits have all been increased in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  In 2022/23, the Government also introduced additional Cost of Living Payments for recipients of certain benefits and tax credits:

  • A £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment for recipients of certain non-means-tested disability benefits, including PIP and AA.
  • A £650 Cost of Living Payment, payable in two instalments, to recipients of certain means-tested benefits including Universal Credit, most of the legacy benefits and tax credits it is replacing (except Housing Benefit), and Pension Credit.
  • A £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, paid as an addition to the Winter Fuel Payment, to households with at least one person entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2022/2023.

A further set of Cost of Living Payments  will be awarded to recipients of the same benefits and tax credits over the course of 2023/24. The payments will be made to recipients of the same benefits as the 2022/23 Cost of Living Payments, although payments for means-tested benefit recipients will total £900 rather than £650 and will be made in three instalments.

Documents to download

Related posts