Report reveals Disabled children disproportionately affected by cost-of-living crisis

A report by the Childhood Trust has revealed the escalating poverty felt by Disabled children across the UK because of the cost-of-living crisis.

The charity surveyed social workers, other charities, and the parents of children with special educational needs and disability (SEND), and found that children had been missing meals because of the cost-of-living crisis or that they had struggled to keep the heating on at home.

black and gray wheelchair on beach during daytime

These factors, caused by the surge in inflation, affected the families of children with SEND more than other families.

The social workers questioned in the report said they were less able to arrange day trips for children or provide personal care or medical equipment for them. More than half said that it had become harder for parents to simply secure a diagnosis for their children.

The financial impact on SEND children comes after a recent report from SCOPE which found that Disabled households (with at least one disabled adult or child) now needed an additional £975 a month to have the same standard of living as non-disabled households.

Laurence Guinness, Chief Executive of the Childhood Trust, said ‘We know everyone’s been disadvantaged, but I think the data tells us that kids with SEND are suffering disproportionately, which is alarming because they are our most vulnerable.

‘During Covid old people were disproportionately affected – they were dying in care homes at alarming rates. This is another scenario akin to that where the weakest, the most vulnerable, the ones who should get the most support and protection are in fact massively lacking support and are invisible.’

Dan White, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Disability Rights UK and one of the leads at the Disability Poverty Campaign Group, said: ‘So much evidence is now pointing in the same direction, that it is impossible, surely, for government and public services not to act.

‘Poverty is bad enough, but when children who have additional needs that can only be supported through good diet, warmth and essential equipment are experiencing hardship, it speaks volumes about the morals and ethical soul of a country.

‘Life costs more when you are Disabled, and it is painfully obvious that the financial support and services are insufficient, weak, and ineffectual.

‘The government should instigate an independent review of benefit levels including extra cost benefits, provide financial support for Disabled people with higher energy costs and tackle barriers to accessing food, in advance of the UN inspection this autumn.’

Image: Hans Moerman


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