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Families with disabled children are struggling to pay household bills as the downturn hits their already stretched finances, a survey suggests.

Contact a Family surveyed 1,113 people about how they were coping financially and found 23% went without heating and 14% missed meals to make ends meet.

The group said the slump has left many parents at "breaking point".

It is calling on the government to protect families in the forthcoming comprehensive spending review.

Srabani Sen, chief executive of Contact a Family, said: "Many families with disabled children are in financial dire straits.

"Everyone has been hit hard by the recession but families with disabled children were already having to cope with a harsh combination of extra living costs and the difficulty of holding down a job and caring.

"These financial pressures have been worsened by the economic slump and have left many at breaking point."

Researchers found that 23%, almost one in four, had to turn off their heating to save money and one in seven, 14%, are going without food.

Almost three-quarters, 73%, said they had to forego leisure activities and days out, while 68% are not taking any holidays.

Bryan Clover of the charity Elizabeth Finn Care warned the situation will get worse when the government switches the measure of inflation its uses to calculate benefit rises, from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index, which excludes housing costs.

Mr Clover said: "The impact of that is anything that they buy from now on will feel more expensive, its going to cost them more they will have less disposable income to use. Every single thing is going to be more expensive and that means hardship is really going to start biting."

The Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, said the coalition government was "committed to supporting the most vulnerable groups in society."

"We're radically reforming and simplifying the welfare system to make sure that families with disabled children get the help they need.

"Families with disabled children can face some of the toughest challenges when trying to get back into work. Our new work programme will help as it will provide a personalised package of support which can address issues around specialist childcare and respite care, regardless of the benefits they claim.

"In addition, from next year Disability Living Allowance will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index, meaning those families facing financial hardship will be better off than if we had stuck with the previous Government's plan to claw back last year's increase
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#2
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I caught some of that on the BBC TV news earlier Daniel, I was astonished that the average income for a family with a disabled child is 1/3 less than the national average at just over 15K a year......... maybe family fund should use those figures instead of their current method of over-inflating them with HB and CTB making a lot of families appear to be financially better off than they really are!
I do wonder about the govenmment whe they mention getting parents back into work and arranging specialist childcare........ when a lot of parents would rather do the caring themselves with the right support (both financially and physically/emotionally)
Fingers crossed they see sense one day and let us get on with our lives Smile
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(07-10-2010, 06:22 AM)fatherjack Wrote: I do wonder about the govenmment whe they mention getting parents back into work and arranging specialist childcare........ when a lot of parents would rather do the caring themselves with the right support (both financially and physically/emotionally)

Had to agree with this, I would rather starve than let someone else look after my daughter full time - I am a control freak and it would actually kill me!
Mum to 3 gorgeous girls Bethany (12), Amyrose (7) and Chloe (4). Chloe has Septo-Optic Displaysia, Bilateral Schizencephaly, Microcephaly, Lissencephaly, Spina Bifida Occulta, Global Developmetal Delay and Epilepsy. But has a smile that can light up the grumpiest persons day!
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(07-10-2010, 06:22 AM)fatherjack Wrote: maybe family fund should use those figures instead of their current method of over-inflating them with HB and CTB making a lot of families appear to be financially better off than they really are!

Its beggars belief as well!
Because it was the labour goverment who cut the funding to family fund and made them have to change the system.
Yet as this report clearly highlights the need for help is bigger than ever!
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How ironic that you post about this, I had to cancel my Asda home shopping delivery due today because I didn't have enough money in the bank to pay for it! *laughs*
Julie xx


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