Across Britain, millions of people with health issues are relying on benefits to help cover rising costs, research has suggested.
According to the research, those who suffer from an illness or injury have more than £1,500 worth of debt and are relying on benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to keep them afloat. They are claiming benefits including PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and Universal Credit’s incapacity allowance, known as LCWRA (limited capability for work and work-related activity) to try to survive, along with Statutory Sick Pay.
It has been said that more than three million people are claiming PIP, which pays up to £691 a month depending on the level of support you need. On top of this, 5.8 million Universal Credit claimants are on the LCWRA top-up which offers an extra £390 a month
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Those who claim statutory sick pay are entitled to £109.40 a week for up to 28 weeks. A nationwide study was carried out to look at how health issues for people in the UK are affecting their financial and personal lives amid the rising cost of living.
It found that 43% of people have said costs are increasing with no way of cutting bills for powering essential equipment like wheelchairs, hoists, nebulisers and other breathing apparatus, or having the heating on to manage health issues. According to BirminghamLive, more than a third of those with illnesses or injuries that prevent them from working say the reduction in income is added pressure.
Medical bills are affecting 36% of people’s finances, while 15% have had to pay to install new adaptations in their home. One in ten are also paying for carers and support.
John Pears, UK CEO of Lowell UK said: “Problems in health are always difficult for both the person experiencing them and their loved ones. This survey supports what we see day in, day out, which is the huge detrimental impact it can also have on their finances, exacerbating an already difficult situation. As well as health issues being the source of debt for many, the knock-on effect of the debt is causing relationship, social and family issues.”
The research comes after recent calls for additional help for people struggling because of medical issues. Campaigners said the recent one-off £150 cost of living payment that went to 6.7 million people on disability benefits is not enough to ease the financial pressures.
Louise Rubin, head of policy at disability charity Scope said: “We’ve heard from disabled people whose bills have risen to £6,000 a year. Parents are skipping meals so their children can eat. Others are going without food just so they can pay for power to breathing equipment.
“Extra costs continue throughout the year, and we look set to be plagued by sky-high energy costs and inflation for some time to come. We need a long-term solution. The Government urgently needs to introduce a discounted social energy tariff for disabled people with no choice but to use more energy.”
DWP Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove said: “We know the cost of living has gone up for disabled people, which is why we are taking action to reduce the financial pressures they face. This £150 disability cost of living payment is on top of up to £900 that most low-income benefit claimants will also receive, helping ensure the most vulnerable in our society are protected from rising costs during this challenging period.”
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