Nearly 300,000 disabled people will no longer be able to claim financial support through the Warm Home Discount, according to new government plans.
The new plans mean that those claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (AA) will no longer be able to apply for the extra £150 a year of government funding.
The government estimates that the move will impact around 290,000 disabled people, but has justified the decision by saying more people with benefit overall.
While the scheme has been extended to offer up to 3 million people extra help with their energy bills, disability charity Scope say the decision is “an insult to disabled people”.
Disabled people are twice as likely to have a cold house
Ahead of the price cap rise, Disability campaigners have been urging the government to provide an energy grant to people with a disability or a serious medical condition.
Rachel Curtis, who started the petition, explains that disabled people often use more energy as they are reliant on specialist equipment (such as electrical wheelchairs, stair lifts, ventilators and electric pumps) to fulfil their basic needs.
Additionally, research by Scope has shown that disabled people are twice as likely to have a cold house than non-disabled people and are three times are likely to not be able to afford food.
For this reason, Scope head of policy and campaigns Louise Rubin said it is “unfathomable” that the government is planning on cutting support for thousands of disabled people.
Scope are calling on the government to reverse their decision
Scope are now calling on the government to rethink their decision to ensure that disabled people are able to keep on top of their bills.
Ms Rubin said: “Life costs more if you’re disabled. Our energy helpline is now overwhelmed with calls from disabled people who are already facing sky-high energy bills, and do not know how they will afford to charge vital equipment, or stay warm, as the crisis goes on.
“At a time when we are facing a real terms cut to benefits, it’s critical that the government reverse this decision.”