Disabled people have told of their struggles over the cost of living crisis, with a woman unable to cut her energy bills because her electric wheelchair is essential to her life.
The Government has offered a range of payments to support disabled people with the bills, but some have said more needs to be done.
Anastasia Tempest, who has cerebral palsy and is a freelance journalist and writer living in Yorkshire, said her electricity bills have soared to £5,000 due to the rising cost of living and her dependency of his electric wheelchair to get around.
“I can’t afford not to charge the electric wheelchair because otherwise I can’t move,” he told the PA news agency.
“I can’t push a manual wheelchair, so my electric wheelchair is the backbone of everything I do really, from moving, to posting a letter, to going to the store, the everyday things that people take it for granted.
“I also have an e-bed that helps me go from bed to chair more easily, so I need to have electricity all the time.”
The electric wheelchair, which she got five weeks ago, was obtained through a GoFundMe because she was “not in a position” to buy it herself.
In July, the government announced that every household in England, Scotland and Wales would receive £400 to help with rising fuel bills this autumn.
However, Tempest said he has yet to receive the payment and if he did, it would not “touch the surface”.
“The reality is there’s not a lot of support available, £400 isn’t going to change it for me,” he said.
“[The Government] it is not doing enough and there are many disabled people who are not able to work.
“Benefits could be increased, universal credit, employment and support allowance could be increased. It’s not going far at all.”
Mrs Tempest said the only support she gets is from the Salvation Army charity and a friend, and survives on cakes and sandwiches.
“I can’t remember when I ate a meal, I don’t do takeaways, too expensive,” she added.
“I find myself cutting corners all the time because the support isn’t there and it’s very hard to find support.
“Being resilient doesn’t put money in your pockets.”
Her money problems have worsened as she has been burgled twice this year, on February 5 and May 11, when items including £300 were stolen, leaving Ms Tempest ” devastated” and having to set up another GoFundMe.
Lorna MacGillivray, 52, from Johnstone, near Glasgow, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder around 13 years ago and relies on benefits because she can’t work, including Personal Independence Payment and Living Allowance the search for work, which “are not enough” to live.
A range of government payments have been offered to disabled people to help with bills, including a £150 payment to help offset the effects of the cost of living crisis in September.
However, Ms MacGillivray said it will not be enough.
“Our utility bills are going to be astronomical. I went from paying £70 for gas and electricity, which I thought was high, then £110 and now they want £170,” he told PA.
“I don’t have that money, period. I’m sitting here now with £60 that’s going to have to be done by me and my son, who’s 23.”
She said she has always been “too good to be poor.”
“I’m a good cook, I’m good at saving, I don’t waste food, but this is the hardest it’s ever been,” she said.
“Where do I get more money? I can’t work. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t go on vacation, I don’t socialize, I get my clothes from charity shops”.
He said the Government needs to “control the energy companies” and that its advice is not enough to curb the effect the rising cost of living is having on people.
“I think someone who is making policy needs to go and live with someone with less for at least two months to see what the reality is,” he said.
“My heating won’t work – I have hot water on request, but it’s quick showers. I wash well once a week and do the dishes in cold water.”
Ms MacGillivray added that she is “dreading” the winter because she will have to rely on hot water bottles to fight the cold, but others are in worse situations.
“There are a lot of people who are really worried about where they’re going to be in November and we have that concern before anything has happened,” he said.
“Life is very much a struggle.”
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We know that living with a long-term illness or disability can affect living costs, which is why we are supporting six million disabled people with an extra payment of £150 sterling, entering bank accounts on 20 September.
“This is part of the £37bn support package, which will see eight million low-income households receive at least £1,200 in direct payments this year. We urge people to check they are getting all the help they are entitled to right”.