Work and Pensions Committee concerned about impact of the cost of living crisis on disabled people

An influential parliamentary committee has shared their latest report on the impact of the cost of living crisis on disabled people.

The Work and Pensions Committee launched its inquiry into the cost of living crisis in February.

Since then it has received evidence from economists and energy experts, as well as disability and older people’s charities. Parkinson’s UK submitted its evidence earlier in the summer.

The Committee found that benefit levels are not enough. In some cases, people are barely scraping by. In others, the financial shock of the cost of living crisis means people cannot afford to eat healthily or heat their homes adequately. Read the full report.

The Committee recommends that the government urgently reviews the level of benefits, with a specific focus on the amount of money disabled people receive. 

The Committee also found that less than three quarters (70%) of those eligible to claim Pension Credit do so, despite the Department of Work and Pensions efforts to boost take-up.

Our response

In response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s latest report on the cost of living crisis, Sue Christoforou, Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser at Parkinson’s UK, said: 

"We are pleased that the Work and Pensions Committee investigated this area. Yet we are very concerned, although unsurprised, at the Committee’s findings. The cost of living crisis has seen disabled people, including people with Parkinson’s, squeezed beyond limit. 

"Research for the Department for Work and Pensions in 2019, well before the start of the cost of living crisis, found people who rely on disability benefits were often unable to meet daily living costs. 

"As well as daily expenses, living with Parkinson’s comes with extra costs. Sheffield Hallam University’s research in 2017 showed that extra costs included travel fares or fuel to get to healthcare appointments or symptom management activities.

"These extra costs can add up to more than £2,000 per year for a household with a person with Parkinson’s. And paying for help with personal care or home adaptations can cost a household an additional £3,000 per year. 

"Since the publication of this research, financial pressures have only increased for people with Parkinson’s. And while the government’s cost of living package was welcome, it is simply not enough in the face of these spiralling costs. 

"The government says it wants to create a welfare system that enables disabled people to live independently. To do this, it must recognise that disabled people, including people with Parkinson’s, cannot live dignified, independent lives at current benefit rates. Which is why we’re supporting the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s campaign to increase benefit levels, so disabled people, including people with Parkinson’s, have enough to live independently on."

"As part of the Disability Benefits Consortium, we recommend that the Department for Work and Pensions commit to a pro-active 'Help to Claim' strategy, similar to the one designed to move people from benefits like Employment Support Allowance to Universal Credit. Without this, more than a million pensioners could continue to go without critical boost to their income."

Share how the cost of living crisis is affecting you 

We know from past research that living with Parkinson’s can cost a household more each year. 

We want to hear how the cost of living crisis is affecting your household. Share your experience with us

If you’d like to get involved in influencing politicians and decision makers to improve the benefits system, please join our Campaigns Network or become a Campaigns Volunteer

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