Disabled people’s costs of living : more than you would think

The purpose of this study was to investigate the additional needs and associated financial costs of disability from the perspective of disabled people themselves. The research took place at a time when it is recognised that disabled people have a range of additional needs and costs (Large, 1991) and have a disproportionate risk of poverty (Gordon, et al., 2000). However, research to date has not provided a clear measure of these additional costs (Berthoud, 1998). As a result, levels of nationally provided financial benefits and local services are predicated on limited evidence. Certain state benefits are meant to offset, at least partially, the additional costs associated with disability, but the extent to which these benefits meet additional needs and costs is unknown. Recently, ‘fairer charging’ policies for local authority domiciliary care have been introduced with the intention that service charges should take into account the additional costs that individuals incur because of disability. Clear guidance for determining these additional costs is proving elusive. The central aim of this research was to provide clear evidence on the extent of these additional costs.