Disabled people told of their struggles in the face of the cost of living crisis, with a woman unable to reduce her energy bills because her electric wheelchair is essential to her life.
The government has offered a range of payments to support disabled people with bills, but some said more needed to be done.
Anastasia Tempest, who has cerebral palsy and is a freelance journalist and writer who lives in Yorkshire, said her electricity bills had soared to £5,000 due to the rising cost of living and her reliance on electricity. his electric wheelchair to get around.
“I can’t afford not to charge the electric wheelchair because otherwise I won’t be able to move,” she told the PA news agency.
“I can’t push a manual wheelchair, so my electric wheelchair is the backbone of everything I really do, from moving to sending a letter to shopping – the everyday things that people take for granted.
“I also have an electronic bed which helps me move from bed to my chair more easily, so I need to have electricity all the time.”
The electric wheelchair, which she got five weeks ago, was bought through a GoFundMe because she “wasn’t in a position” to buy it herself.
In July, the government announced that all households in England, Scotland and Wales would receive £400 to help with rising fuel bills this autumn.
I can’t push a manual wheelchair, so my electric wheelchair is the backbone of everything I really do, from moving to mailing a letter to shopping – everyday things that people take for granted.
However, Ms Tempest said she had yet to receive payment and if she did it would “not touch the surface”.
“The reality is there’s not much support available at all, £400 won’t make any difference to me,” she said.
“[The Government] not doing enough and there are many people with disabilities who are unable to work.
“They could increase benefits, universal credit, employment and support allowance could be increased. It doesn’t go very far at all. »
Ms Tempest said the only support she received was from the Salvation Army charity and a friend, and she survived on pastries and sandwiches.
“I can’t remember when I’ve had a cooked meal, I don’t do takeout – too expensive,” she added.
“I find that I take shortcuts all the time because the support isn’t there and it’s so hard to find any.
“Being resilient doesn’t put money in your pocket.”
Her money troubles have been compounded as she has been burglarized twice this year, on February 5 and May 11, when items including £300 were stolen, leaving Ms Tempest ‘devastated’ and having to create another GoFundMe.
Lorna MacGillivray, 52, from Johnstone, near Glasgow, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder around 13 years ago and is relying on benefits because she cannot work, including Personal Independence Allowance and jobseeker’s allowance, which is not enough for him to live on.
A range of government payments have been offered to people with disabilities to help pay their bills, including a £150 payment to help with the effects of the cost of living crisis in September.
However, Ms MacGillivray said that would not be enough.
“Our utility bills are going to be astronomical. I went from paying £70 for gas and electricity, which I thought was high, then £110 and now they want £170,” she told PA.
“I don’t have that money, period. I’m sitting here at the moment with £60 which is going to have to do me and my son, who is 23.
She said she had always been “really good at being poor”.
“I’m a good cook, I’m good at saving, I don’t waste food, but this is the hardest it’s ever been,” she said.
“Where can I get more money? I can not work. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t go on vacation, I don’t socialize, I dress in charity shops.
She said the government needed to “take control of the energy companies” and that her advice was not enough to curb the effect of the rising cost of living on people.
“I think someone who is in politics has to go live with someone who has the least for at least two months to see what the reality is,” she said.
“My heating won’t work – I have hot water on demand, but these are quick showers. I bathe properly once a week and do the dishes in cold water.
Ms MacGillivray added that she “dreads” winter as she will have to rely on hot water bottles to combat the cold, but that others are in worse shape.
“There are a lot of people who are really worried about where they are going to be in November and we have that worry even before anything happens,” she said.
“Life is truly a struggle.”
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘We know that living with a long-term illness or disability can have an impact on the cost of living, which is why we are supporting six million disabled people with an additional payment of £150, landing in bank accounts from September 20.
“This is part of the £37billion support package, which will see eight million low-income households receive at least £1,200 in direct payments this year. We urge people to check that they are getting all the help to which they are entitled.
. A woman dependent dun wheelchair electric says the people disabled need help government