Soaring bills mean people with disabilities face ‘cost of breathing crisis’ | UK News
A leading charity has warned that rising energy costs mean people with disabilities face a “cost crisis to breathe”.
People who rely on machines like CPAP machines to breathe could lose their independence, health and well-being, Scope says.
The charity supported nearly 38,000 people with disabilities last year, and of those over a third have debts to energy companies – on average over £1,000.
And nearly a quarter of callers to his hotline had to turn off medical equipment to save money.
Toby Greaves, Head of Services at Scope, said: “As the rising cost of living forces many people to reduce their energy consumption, it can mean life and death for people with disabilities.
“With summer on the horizon, many people will turn down their thermostats and hope their energy bills will come down.
“But for disabled people who depend on energy to stay alive, giving up is not an option.
“Our hotlines are being inundated with heartbreaking calls from disabled people and their families who have shut everything down and have nothing left to cut.”
Many UK households will be happy to see their summer energy bills reduced as consumption decreases in the warmer months, but many disabled people do not have that option.
Scope will air a series of television spots on ITV over the next two months to highlight the impact of the cost of living crisis on people with disabilities.
A study published last month found that disabled households need an extra £975 a month to have the same standard of living as non-disabled households.
Her television advert will feature six disabled actors who rely on electrical devices such as CPAP machines for breathing, hoists for entry and exit, and communication devices for speaking.
Scope’s Disability Energy Support Service has saved disabled people nearly £2million in a year – and the charity encourages anyone in need of help to reach out to them.
Metro.co.uk spoke to a number of families who have shared the devastating impact rising costs are having on their disabled relatives.
One father shared his fear his daughter would die if they couldn’t pay her energy bills, while others said life with disabled children had become “impossible”.
Dan Aspley is the father of 14-year-old Callie, who suffers from rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata, a rare and severe form of dwarfism.
He said: “Everyone needs help now but those with the additional medical equipment and needs really need help. Everything we have for Callie is keeping her out of the hospital and alive.
“You will find that as more and more people cannot pay the bills, their loved ones will end up in the hospital or die.
“Currently, Callie is still a child and we don’t have to pay for all the medication.
“If this continues in three years, what kind of situation will we be in? How are we going to afford their medicines?’
And disability rights activist Samantha Renke said she and other disabled people are paying for the living costs of the crisis with their health.
She asked, “Do I need to cut back on care? Do I have to give up being on the move because I don’t dare to charge my electric wheelchair?’
Susie Braun, director of social causes at ITV, said: “Our partnership with Scope aims to highlight the support available to disabled people who are struggling with the life-changing effects of additional increased costs.
‘We are delighted to once again be working with Scope on such an important initiative.’
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