The government has been urged to do more to support disabled households with cost-of-living expenses, as Leyla Hayes reports
Data shared exclusively with ITV News by the charity Scope has shown that disabled households would have to find an average of almost £12,000 more a year to achieve the same standard of living as non-disabled households.
In addition, the extra cost of disability, on average, equals 63% of disabled households' income, leaving little room to afford a decent standard of living.
The charity's new findings - based on analysis of the Family Resources Survey 2019/20 - show a dramatic increase on previous reports.
If this figure is updated to account for inflation over the current period 2022/2023, incorporating the coronavirus pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, these extra costs rise to £1,122 per month.
Shani Dhanda lives with Osteogenesis Imperfecta - a condition which means her bones break easily with no obvious cause.
She told ITV News that while everyone feels the cost-of-living crisis, those with disabilities are being impacted by the extra costs they face.
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Ms Dhanda said: "I really struggled to use public transport because it's not designed for people like me.
"I have to pay a lot of money for travel insurance, for specialist insurance for my wheelchair... just every bit of my life costs so much more and it's not fair. I shouldn't have to pay more to try and live the same lives as non-disabled people."
Additional costs for disabled households are driven by specialist equipment, home adaptations and having higher essential costs, such as energy and transport.
Hannah Deakin relies on specialist equipment to help with her Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, Hypermobility Syndrome and Functional Neurological Disorder.
"For my bed I have [an] electric bed which needs to be on 24/7," Ms Deakin told ITV News.
"I have an air mattress, again it needs to be on 24/7, my powerchair needs to be charged 12 hours a night."
James Taylor, Director of Strategy at Scope, told ITV News that the cost-of-living crisis has laid bare a "welfare system that isn't supporting people".
He added: "We know that lots of households are in poverty, but at the end of the day what we're seeing is a benefits system that isn't adequate enough."
The government has said its strong safety net for the disabled is helping the most vulnerable, on top of inflation-matching increases in benefits and energy bill support.
But Ms Deakin and Ms Dhanda said more needs to be done.
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