End disability bills crisis: How you can get help – Every disability benefit you can claim

Disabled caller says fuel bill has gone from £78 to £218

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Research by the disability charity Scope has revealed that the 14 million disabled people in the UK already face extra costs of £583 a month for higher energy bills and expensive equipment. Some 900,000 of them are also in fuel poverty – a figure which could hit 2.1 million if bills rise again in October. The Daily Express spoke to Susanne Crosby, 55, and husband Andy, 58, who care for their 16-year-old daughter Mia who has a rare neurological condition called Rett syndrome that leaves her unable to walk.

Mia relies on energy-hungry mechanical equipment in her day to day life; from a ceiling hoist and stairlift to get her up and out of bed, to an outside platform lift simply to be able to leave the family’s Brighton home.

Switching these off is not an option. Food is the only way they can slash their outgoings, Susanne said, and sometimes she just has yoghurt for lunch as the family fight to get by.

She said: “We just feel invisible, and we feel like we’re being ignored. It’s hard enough anyway, having to live like this. It’s just another blow when you already feel like you’re on the floor and on your knees; another kick which just knocks the stuffing out of you.

“I can’t be there for Mia unless I’m looking after myself but it’s so increasingly difficult to prioritise looking after yourself when you are so stressed about being able to afford the bare necessities.”

Susanne is Mia’s full-time carer, receiving just £69.70 a week in Carer’s Allowance. But with her energy bills rising from £100 a month to £150pm and water doubling from £28.83 to £59.70pm, it’s not touching the sides.

Today the Daily Express is launching a crusade to End the Disability Bills Crisis, calling on the Government and energy firms to step in with immediate targeted relief such as a £200 grant for hard-hit families, as called for by campaigners. You can find out more about the launch by reading Susanne’s full story, but we’ve also broken down all the support that’s available to disabled people right now in these trying times.

Disability Living Allowance for children

Disability Living Allowance for children (DLA) is a tax-free benefit for children under 16 to help with the extra costs caused by long-term ill health or a disability.

Disability Living Allowance for adults

Personal Independence Payment is gradually replacing DLA for adults with long-term ill health or a disability. If you’ve reached State Pension age you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a tax-free benefit for people aged 16 or over who have not reached State Pension age. It can help with the extra costs caused by long term ill-health or a disability.

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for people who are State Pension age or over, have a disability and need someone to help look after them.

Employment and Support Allowance

You may be able to get ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you cannot work because of illness or disability.

Carers

Carer’s Allowance is extra money to help you look after someone with substantial caring needs.

You could also get Carer’s Credit so there will not be any gaps in your National Insurance record if you have to take on caring responsibilities.

Universal Credit

You may be eligible for Universal Credit. You might get an extra amount of Universal Credit if you have a health condition or disability that prevents you from working or preparing for work.

Your monthly payment is based on your circumstances, for example your health condition or disability, income and housing costs.

Council Tax Reduction

You can apply to your local council for Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support).

Vehicles and transport

If you’re disabled you can apply for the following:

  • exemption from paying vehicle tax
  • parking benefits – Blue Badge
  • disabled persons bus pass or Disabled Persons Railcard
  • ohelp to buy or lease a car from The Motability Scheme

Other payments 

Blind Person’s Allowance
Help if you have a disabled child
What to do if you become disabled
Support visits if you need help to claim benefits

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