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Scope - The disability price tag
Disability charity, Scope, has published its new policy report, The disability price tag, in which it identifies some of the ways in which life costs more for disabled people. The report calls on government and businesses to act fast to tackle the ‘financial penalty’ associated with being disabled by reforming welfare benefit assessments and improving business markets to drive costs down for disabled people.
Following on from Scope’s research in 2014 into the extra costs associated with disability, the charity acknowledges the starting point steps taken by government to support more disabled people being in work by 2027 and various moves by the business community to consider the needs of disabled consumers. However, it reiterates that four years on, in 2018, life is still more expensive if you are disabled.
Disabled people still find it harder to get a job, to access education and training, to participate fully in society and to build financial resilience. Where the disabled person is out of work, the impact on their standard of living is even greater. Households with a disabled person are twice as likely to have unsecured debt totalling more than half of their household income.
Even taking into account welfare payments, such as the Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance which are designed to help meet the costs of their disability, after housing costs, disabled people on average spend 49% of their income on disability-related costs.
Scope’s analysis uses a measure of standard of living based upon a disabled person’s ability to afford certain items and activities, including being able to replace worn out clothes, buy household contents insurance and replace broken electrical goods. Taking into account demographics such as geographical location, age, and employment status, the ‘disability price tag’ means that these basic standard of living costs add up to an average of £570 a month, with one in five disabled people meeting additional costs of £1000 per month. Put another way, a disabled person’s spending power is reduced to £67 for every £100 of an equivalent able-bodied person’s money.
The findings of the report are primarily based Scope’s analysis of three broad categories of costs:
- Paying for specialised goods and services, including expensive items such as wheelchairs, assistive technology and adapted items of clothing
- Greater use of goods and services, such as additional heating costs for those who are less mobile or more frequent use of taxis owing to inaccessible public transport
- Higher charges for services such as accessible hotel rooms or higher insurance premiums for travel insurance
At Boyes Turner our clinical negligence and personal injury lawyers are only too aware of the additional costs of disability. Our clients have suffered serious brain injury, severe physical disability, amputations and suffer from the long lasting and disabling effects of cancers and other serious conditions.
Where we can prove that the disability was caused by negligent medical treatment, a road accident where someone else was to blame, a defective product, an accident or asbestos exposure at work, we work hard to analyse and recover the additional disability costs which have been or will be incurred over our client’s lifetime, whether those costs are for nursing care, adapted accommodation, specialist equipment, technologies, prosthetics and therapy, or special education, and the losses which arise from the injured person’s inability to work.
We appreciate, however, that the majority of disabilities do not give rise to a legal claim and we wholeheartedly support the work of Scope and other disability charities towards a fairer, more accessible and inclusive life for disabled people.