Rising cost of living means rising anxiety for those living with disabilities

Research has found that 55% of disabled adults have worried about paying their energy bills. Credit: PA

The rising cost of living means rising anxiety for many people, but particularly for those with disabilities.

It's always been the case that life costs more for disabled people and their families; spending more on essential goods and services like heating, insurance, equipment and therapies.

But with energy levels now set to soar, for many it's going to be even more challenging.

Kat Wakins from Swansea was born with the congenital disability Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type 3, also known as brittle bones.

For 16 years Kat was reliant on benefits, and had she not secured a job last year, she believes that the current rising living costs would have seen her spiral into debt.

She told me: "When I was on benefits, it was a lot harder and I really feel for those that are on benefits, because I honestly don't know how they are going to cope. The rising prices would have left me in a lot of debt.

"I have a very lovely family and they would never have seen me out of pocket or needing to struggle, which is amazing, but I'm also somebody who doesn't like to ask for help."

A survey carried out by Disability Charity Scope found:

The research also found that more than 4 million households in the UK with a disabled person spend over £1,500 a year on energy.

Of these, 790,000 spend over £2,500 annually compared to the average UK household at around £1,200.

But those costs are set to rise dramatically as the price of energy soars.

As of 1st April the energy price cap for those on default tariffs who pay by direct debit is rising by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971.

Kat believes without her current job, the rising living costs would have seen her spiral into debt.

And it's not just heating their homes which will be of concern to those with disabilities.

Having enough money to fill their vehicles with fuel will also weigh heavy on their minds as those with disabilities need transport to attend frequent medical appointments.

Kat owns a large vehicle to accommodate her electric wheelchair, it used to cost her £100 to fill up with diesel, she says that cost has already doubled.

"I always need to make sure I've got half a tank of fuel to be able to get to hospitals and in case of an emergency. I also travel to hospitals so I need to get to Sheffield in case I have a neurological problem or London because suddenly they've seen the fracture that I've got needs an emergency operation or something like that.

Kat added: "When you are disabled you need to keep things together and ready in case something happens."

Kat requires 24 hour care and has a live-in Personal Assistant to help her with her daily needs. While the PA's salary gets paid through the local authority Kat, and others in a similar position, have to pay for all the extras of having someone live with them.

"Having a PA does mean I need to pay double on whatever bill I get as there are two people in my house. Not that I resent that at all because it is how I've chosen to live my life and how I need to live my life. For me they are angels and having PA's around means I get freedom and independence and am able to live my life."

Life is undoubtedly going to be a challenge for everyone over the coming months but for those living with disabilities the extent of the financial challenge ahead is going to be of grave concern.