£3,000 a year on taxis, £100 on medicine - the extra costs disabled people face

Rachael Mole (left) and Shani Dhanda (right) are both paying extra costs.

By Multimedia Producer Wedaeli Chibelushi

If you're disabled, life costs an average of £600 more per month than it does a non-disabled person.

This eye-watering "disability price tag", calculated by the charity Scope, comprises of necessities like prescriptions, taxis, and extra heating to regulate body temperature.

And, as ITV News has heard, these costs have become even harder to shoulder amid the cost of living crisis.

"I had a conversation with somebody through work and they just couldn’t wrap their head around what it was like to be disabled," Rachael Mole, an entrepreneur, says.

"I was bringing up things like, my kettle has just broken and I require one that self pours and it's way more expensive than a normal kettle - that’s like a disability tax."

Ms Mole has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare condition that can cause extreme tiredness, digestive problems and joints to dislocate regularly.

She spends over £320 a month on disability-related costs. This includes, roughly:

  • £120 on taxis (she faints when forced to stand on packed public transport)

  • £50 on ready meals and supermarket delivery fees (a cost that comes on top of her regular food shop)

  • £10 on prescriptions

  • £140 on acupuncture massages

Ms Mole notes that disabled people are squeezed further by their relatively low incomings. According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), disabled people are paid around 17% less than their counterparts.

Shani Dhanda, who has a rare genetic condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, tells ITV News that "living in a world that isn't designed" for her leaves her with little disposable income.

Ms Dhanda, a campaigner, spends around:

  • £83 a month on clothing to fit her short stature, which is a result of her disability

  • £41 on higher insurance premiums

  • £250 on taxis

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Ms Dhanda has always had to be mindful about her spending, but the cost of living crisis means her financial sacrifices are now much greater.

"I have decided not to buy a new wheelchair I need and have saved up for over the last few years, in case I need to use that money to pay bills," she says.

Scope says staggering inflation and energy costs mean there's more of "an urgent need" to address the extra costs disabled people have.

The charity has welcomed a one-off £150 cost of living payment for disabled people, as well as the government's pledge to increase benefits in line with inflation.

However, it insists the government must do more as "the long-term picture for many disabled households still looks worrying".

"While were all trying to do our bit to turn lights off around the home and be energy efficient, for lots of disabled people it's gone way past that point now. They’ve cut as much as they can," Scope's head of policy and campaigns Louise Rubin says.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy did not respond to ITV News' request for comment.