Disabled woman is now housebound as the cost of living crisis means she can’t load the wheelchair

Jade Cotton, who suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and scoliosis, is struggling with soaring utility bills and has been forced to stop charging her power chair overnight

Jade Cotton struggles with her skyrocketing utility bills
Jade Cotton struggles with her skyrocketing utility bills

A disabled woman had to be housebound as rising energy costs meant she could no longer afford to charge her power chair.

Jade Cotton, who suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and scoliosis, said she has already plunged into the red and borrowed money from relatives to pay the bills.

The 34-year-old from Birmingham is struggling to cope after her electricity bills soared to prohibitive levels. New research has shown that the cost of living crisis is hitting disabled people hard – half of disabled households in the West Midlands are in debt.

Jade and her husband Andy had to use their overdrafts and borrow money from the family to cover their overheads. To further reduce costs, the couple were forced to stop charging Jade’s power wheelchair overnight.

Jade with her husband Andy



“We hardly go out anymore,” Jade said.

“I have a power chair, but I don’t charge it every night because we can’t afford it.

“We can’t go out like we used to – it’s really impacted my mental health because I enjoy going out and meeting my family. Although we go out less and try to save money where we can, we’re both still in debt and have had to borrow money from Andy’s parents to pay the utility bills.”

Last month, the Government announced a one-off living allowance for disabled people of £150 to help disabled people cope with the skyrocketing cost of living – with those in the lowest income bracket receiving an extra £650.

The couple has to borrow money from the family to pay the bills



But Jade said the move would bring only a “temporary” reprieve and she expects her financial situation to worsen in the coming months.

“My mental health is fine at the moment, but I’m not sure for how long. I definitely see the situation worsening in winter as we need to heat more than in the summer months.

“The additional money announced by the government will not help at all in the long term. I truly believe that disabled people and unpaid carers should be given a larger monthly allowance to pay bills and afford extra expenses – more needs to be done to help disabled people enjoy life to the fullest. “

New research by disability charity Sense found that disabled households were at a financial ‘breaking point’ – with more than a third skipping meals to save money. The charity said the government’s support package would only offer “temporary relief” and called for an urgent increase in benefit payments.

Many disabled households have been hit hard by the cost of living crisis



Richard Kramer, Chief Executive of Sense, said: “The study underscores the desperate everyday reality of disabled households across the UK who are in debt and faced with impossible choices e.g. B. whether they should eat or heat the house.

“Everyone is affected by rising prices, but households with disabilities are hardest hit because of their circumstances. Many are in poverty, are less likely to have full-time employment, and face additional costs for essential goods and services, such as charging wheelchairs or running oxygen equipment.

“With welfare cuts, many families are already struggling to get the support they need and feel there is no way out of their financial situation. The costs faced by disabled people and families are not luxuries that can be cut, and “better household budgeting” will not solve the problem.

“Disabled and family caregivers need long-term financial support.”

Last weekend, thousands of protesters marched into Parliament Square, calling on the government to take action to help Brits survive the worst cost of living crisis in more than 40 years.

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