FOI Request True Cost of Living with a Disability
Research shows that the everyday cost of having a disability can be substantial, relative to the cost a non-disabled person would otherwise have to spend in order to meet their physical and social needs. Much of the additional cost arises from how disabled people lead their lives, which is not well recognised by the benefits system. Understanding the true cost of living with a disability is critical for any social support system to ensure that people do not have to live in undue hardship.
With this in mind:
1. If a person can evidence disability related expenses, do you pay these / subtract them from a person’s care charges?
2. Do you have a definitive list of what constitutes disability related expenses?
3. If yes to 2 above, please supply the list.
4. If no to 2 above, can you give examples of what you would consider as disability related expenses, based on what you have paid for in the past.
5. Please say if you would pay for any of the following as disability related expenses to enable disabled people to reach a minimal acceptable standard of living:
• Technological equipment, software and IT training (eg. laptop, mobile phone, screen reader software, etc.) to enable communication, facilitate access to written materials, make the best use of a person’s sight, etc;
• Domestic help, eg. regular help with cleaning, dealing with particular jobs;
• Additional travel costs, eg. taxi journeys to medical appointments, visits to dispersed social networks;
• Additional costs of socialising and going on holiday, eg. companion’s travel costs (without whom a holiday would be impossible), using a hotel rather than self-catering accommodation, etc;
• Additional cost of household goods, eg. better lighting, floor coverings, paying someone to help with home maintenance, etc;
• Additional health care costs, eg. increase in the number of prescriptions, purchase of sanitary/hygiene items, etc;
• Utilities, eg. additional cost of electricity to run technological equipment, additional lighting, etc;
• Specialist support, eg. sign language interpreters, which is not always considered a ‘reasonable adjustment’ to providing services;
• Social activities, eg. to combat the risk of social isolation;
• Anything else?
1. Costs are included as a disregard in their financial assessment
2. No, cases are examined on a case by case basis
4. If someone can evidence:-
high/excessive utility costs - over and above that of which an able bodied person may pay, a disregard will be approved
high/excessive clothing costs - over and above that of which an able bodied person may pay, a disregard will be approved
high/excessive laundry costs - over and above that of which an able bodied person may pay, a disregard will be approved
5. Dependent on the outcome of an individual’s support plan, some of the above may be covered by their personal budget