Disabled people are struggling with the cost of living due to lack of financial support

According to a pre-budget submission made by the Rehab Group, many people with disabilities cannot find suitable rental homes and have had to resort to food banks.

The document has been prepared after consulting with more than 460 service users in 49 focus groups across the country.

The submission identified several common issues faced by disabled people, including the lack of suitable homes, hidden healthcare costs, and the desire to live independently. Urgent action is needed to address these issues.

The submission highlighted various testimonials from people with disabilities. They urged the government to ensure that the Budget 2024 delivers a more inclusive society and develop effective pathways for disabled people to participate in the community.

According to the submission, people with disabilities seeking private-rented accommodation in a housing crisis face enormous challenges “as most rental properties are unsuitable and cannot be easily adapted”.

Service users also reported significant issues with managing day-to-day living at home or living independently with the limited number of PA hours they received, with some effectively confined to their homes due to the lack of PA support.

One of the participant said: “I live alone and have to rely on ‘Food Cloud most weeks to supplement my weekly food shop as I can’t always afford to buy enough to keep me going.”

Another said: “I moved into my new home two weeks ago and I’m concerned about how I’m going to survive. At the minute, my brother is helping me out with my food bills. But that can’t continue.”

Rehab Group CEO Barry McGinn said, “Disabled people are marginalised by financial, physical, and societal constraints that reinforce our unequal society.  The results of our focus groups corroborate the findings of the Cost of Disability report, with participants highlighting difficulties in surviving financially with day-to-day expenses, especially those considering living independently.  Specific barriers lead people with disabilities into an almost unending cycle of relying on welfare payments that do not meet their needs.”

Although a common thread throughout the groups was how difficult it was to survive on social welfare payments, many outlined that living independently or without their family’s support would be “impossible.”

The Rehab Group is seeking an increase in basic rates of Social Welfare payments by at least €30 per week in recognition of the cost of living and the increasing rate of inflation.

The sector also requested the government to provide adequate resources to support the restoration of pay parity for Section 39 organizations. This would ensure that those who rely on these services don’t lose them.

You can read full Rehab Group Pre-Budget submission 2024 here.