Campaign News

The new DBC briefing ‘“It would mean not having to skip meals” – the emergency need to #IncreaseDisabilityBenefits’ can be found in the DBC reports section.

Join the DBC’s call in demanding the Government to stop leaving disabled people behind.

***EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 Hrs, MONDAY 27 April 2020***

Press Release, Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC)

‘Stop discriminating against millions of disabled people’:

100 disability charities demand increase to ALL out of work benefits – not just Universal Credit

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), a network of over 100 organisations, has called the Government’s decision to increase Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits by £20 “discriminatory”, as millions of disabled people on other out of work benefits will not see an uplift – despite facing immense hardship and fearing for their safety in the current climate.

Alongside a petition supported by MPs and the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, the DBC released results of a survey of over 200 disabled people which found nearly all (95%) had seen an increase in their costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, 92% admitted they were struggling with additional food costs – and others said they were having to find the money needed to pay people to collect food and medicine, and higher heating and water bills as they were forced to shield at home.

One respondent said: “I cannot carry shopping home, due to a chronic illness impacting my spine. As online orders from supermarkets are completely booked, I have had to find alternative shops to order from for home delivery, all of which are considerably more expensive.”

Another said: “Electric and gas charges are way up. My father is paying for some of my energy charges out of his pension. This isn’t right.”

Some even said they’re having to choose between heating their homes, feeding themselves and their families, or buying medicine, with one respondent saying the extra £20 “would mean not having to skip meals.”

Ella Abraham, Z2K’s Policy and Campaigns Officer and Campaigns Co-Chair of the DBC, says: “The Government are discriminating against millions of disabled people on other benefits by choosing to only ‘focus on new claimants’ on Universal Credit.

“We stand with the hundreds of disability charities and activists demanding The Government immediately give all benefits the same COVID-19 emergency £20 increase that Universal Credit has seen to ensure the safety of everyone.”

Anastasia Berry, Policy Manager at the MS Society and Policy Co-Chair of the DBC, says: “More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK, and many in receipt of out of work benefits were struggling financially before the COVID-19 crisis. Now, hit with extra costs to survive the pandemic, the Government’s decision to only increase Universal Credit means they are discriminating against the people who need support most.

“MS is relentless, painful and disabling, and we know around a third living with the condition rely on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because they are unable to work. We urgently need to see an increase in ESA and other legacy benefits so people with MS, and other disabled people, aren’t left behind.”

Join the DBC’s call in demanding the Government to stop leaving disabled people behind.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

References

1. Disability Benefits Consortium survey of 224 disabled people, April 2020

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is a network of over 100 organisations with an interest in disability and social security. Using our combined knowledge, experience and direct contact with millions of disabled individuals, people with long-term health conditions and carers, we seek to ensure that Government policy reflects and meets the needs of all disabled people. For our full list of members, see https://disabilitybenefitsconsortium.wordpress.com/dbc-members/