Thousands of people across the UK have added their names to a petition calling on the UK government to expand the scope of the one-off cost of living payment.
The UK government bowed to pressure from campaigners and political opponents who demanded additional financial support from government to help low-income households with the growing cost of living crisis.
However, many responded with dismay after discovering that Carer’s Allowance and disability benefits (Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance) were not to be included in the eligibility criteria.
The petition argues that disabled people should be included alongside carers in the £650 one-off payment as part of the government’s ‘Cost of Living support package’.
The petition, created and submitted on the UK’s government’s official petition website by Abigail Broomfield, argues that many of those not covered by current eligibility rules “have larger utilities bills and food costs when compared to non-disabled people”.
“We rely on these utilities and food to stay alive”, the petitioner argues.
It continues: “Without including disabled people for the full £650 entitlement [sic], many more disabled people could die.
“We might have to switch off or use our equipment less which is vital for our survival. We could be unable to purchase specific food for our dietary requirements. We might be unable to be warm. This could lead to more hospitalisations and death.
“Most Disabled people already suffer from mental health problems and this will only increase. This could lead to more suicides and death.”
More than 12,000 people had signed the petition at the time of writing. Once a petition shared on the official government’s website passes 10,000 signatories the government is expected to respond to the petition author.
If a petition attracts more than 100,000 signatures it may then be considered for debate in the House of Commons, although this rarely results in meaningful policy shifts.
The UK government had not responded to the petition at the time this article was published.
However, ministers have stated that while people in receipt of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and/or Carer’s Allowance are not uniquely included in the qualifying criteria, they may still be eligible for the one-off £650 payment (split into two individual payments) if they also receive certain benefits like Universal Credit or Tax Credits.