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Priced out: what disabled people told us they pay more for

We launched a report today which shows that disabled people and their families pay more at every turn.

It isn’t only the extra costs of specialist equipment, or having to buy more of things, like heating or bedding. Disabled people are also being charged a premium for everyday items.

We have calculated that disabled people face a financial penalty of on average of £550 per month.

We asked you what you have to spend more on. Thanks for sharing your experiences on Facebook and Twitter – here’s what you told us.

Buying specialist products and adapted equipment 

Disabled people have to buy things that most families don’t have to budget for. You told us just how expensive specialist equipment and products can be.

“I am constantly amazed at the prices I have to pay for items and equipment. I am horrified by what some mobility equipment companies get away with charging.” – Sue

“My orthotic braces don’t fit in normal shoes and slippers so i have to buy them from specialist suppliers. These are MUCH more expensive than normal shoes.” – Fiona

“Why do wheelchair and equipment manufacturers all think that all wheelchair users are lottery winners?” – John

“The special aids are horrendously expensive.” – Jules

Things disabled people need to buy more of

Disabled people and their families often need to buy more of things. This could be a one-off expense, like buying a larger house to store medical equipment, or regular expenses, like taxis to work or higher energy use. Here’s what you buy more of.

“I fall a lot so I need to wash my clothes more often than non disabled people (on average), and my clothes get damaged quicker so need replacing more often. Due to my hyperhydrosis I go through more antiperspirants than ‘normal’ people and have to buy the more expensive super strength ones.” – Fiona

“I have dyspraxia and dyslexia. All my written work is done on my computer and printed out. So I buy more printer cartridges than others.” – Shirley Jones

“I’m physically disabled and have epilepsy so can’t drive – taxis soon mount up!” – Ruth

Paying more for everyday things

You also told us that you are often charged more for everyday things.

” I have to buy concert tickets over the phone instead if internet. Calls are charged at peak.” – Shani

“Companies read “disabled” or “special needs” but hear “keerching!!”. Scandal. Selling an I-Pad? Call it a “Communication Aid” and add a zero on to the end of the price.” – Wag

“Holiday insurance, could not go abroad last time we planned as no one would insure me and include medical problems.” – Helen

“Taxis drivers spend forever with clamps etc and are “legally allowed” to have the meter running either while putting you in or getting you out.” – Jenna

“It annoys me so much that you have to pay more for taxis as a disabled wheelchair user! Also it’s normally only the more expensive companies that have accessible vehicles!” – Adele

“Hospital parking costs a lot more as it takes me longer to get to the appointment and get out again, and I usually have to wait up to an hour for a disabled space at my local hospital. This all adds to the costs you have to pay.” – Fiona

What needs to happen

The extra costs that disabled people and their families face have a huge impact on living standards. Having less cash to spare makes it harder to afford the basics in life, avoid debt, and build up savings.

We think two things need to happen.

The Government needs to protect payments that help disabled people meet these extra costs.

We also need to find a way to bring down the premium that disabled people are paying for everything things.

We are calling for all Government departments to play a part in driving down disabled people’s extra costs. And Scope is launching a commission in the summer, to find ways to reduce the amount that disabled people pay in key areas, including housing, transport, equipment and technology.

Read the report and let us know on Facebook and Twitter what extra costs you face . Read the story on BBC News.

4 thoughts on “Priced out: what disabled people told us they pay more for”

  1. I have been saying many of these things for years and am delighted to see this report. I am fortunate and have full mobility and good health but after working with people with mobility and health problems for 16 years I left the day job to set up my company to endeavour to try to start to help with some of these issues. I have seen too many people having to choose between eating and heating – it’s wrong! So many don’t receive good advice about attendance allowance for expample and the form filling is enough to put anyone off. GP’s should be able to tick a box for people who are entitled to this and other health related benefits. I have literally completed hundreds of applications for people but it’s degrading for people to be asked so many personal questions no matter how delicately one phrases the questions.

  2. Hurray for Scope! The same is true when booking a holiday, we always have to book early to guarantee adapted facilities only to find that close to the trip, able bodied guests are being offered the same trip at a third of the price.
    We have saved hard for a Cruise only to find the adapted cabins are in a more exclusive part of the ship and therefore we are paying a premium. Again, we have to book early as these facilities are limited.

  3. My 7 yr pd daughter has CP SD and goes through shoes almost fortnightly as she walks on her toes and uses her shoes as brakes when in her walker. She goes through jeans and leggings after 1/2 uses as she crawls and this makes holes in the knees. I think it’s dreadful that disabled people have to pay car parking at hospitals as they obviously need to visit more often for appointments. On top of car parking there are diesel costs too.

  4. The Taxicard scheme should be reviewed. I’m in Edinburgh, where I get up to £3 off a taxi fare, and can use it for one return trip a week. It’s been £3 for at least twenty years; the Council department responsible refuses to say when it was last changed. Taxi fares have gone up quite a lot in that time! And one return trip a week isn’t enough. I have friends I see about once a year who live in the same city as me, I just can’t afford to visit them.

    Also it’d be great if the NHS could do a proper job of providing patient transport. I’ve had to stop using their patient transport service, it was simply too dangerous. They can’t handle severely disabled patients at all, and don’t even recognise ME, one of the most disabling medical conditions in existence (and also life-threatening). Collapsing at hospital due to improper transport and hospital care should not be something, with months of recovery needed, should not be something that has ever happened to me, let alone happened several times.

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