Written evidence from anonymised CLP0016

Cost of living crisis and lack of support for disabled working aged families.

Both myself [sensitive information removed] and my husband [sensitive information removed] are registered blind and I personally have a number of other disabilities. We have both worked for our local governments, my husband for 13 years until he was medically retired due to losing his eyesight in November 2019 and myself I am still currently employed by them but I am on unpaid long term sick leave.

We are both in receipt of Contributions based ESA, and Personal Independence Payments on the highest rate for both elements due to our disabilities.

Since we have been on the benefits we have been told we are not eligible for universal credit and we do not get any help towards our rent or council tax.

In response to the questions raised;

  1. To what extent have the cost of living support payments been sufficient at helping eligible households meet the cost of essentials such as food and electricity?

We have so far only received one payment of £150 and this has gone no way towards covering the cost of the increased petrol for weekly hospital appointments let alone the increased cost of food or the increased cost of gas and electricity. We are going without most days just to make ends meet so our 12 year old daughter doesn’t have to go without.

  1. What role have the following factors played in access to the cost of living support payments:

a) Passporting: Not already being in receipt of certain means-tested benefits, despite being eligible, and consequentially being prevented from accessing emergency support; - this has a huge consequence for us as we technically should both be in receipt of Income Based ESA however as this is a historic benefit and there are no new claims, this then penalises people who have paid into the national insurance since the day they left school until the day they stop working for whatever reason however if we had not worked ever or for the 2 years prior to making the claim we would have received the benefit needed.

B) Cliff-edges: Not being in receipt of a certain means-tested benefit, because households failed to meet certain qualifying thresholds. – Again this is a similar point to A it’s all down to how we are treated because we worked hard all our lives and jow we have worked ourselves into the ground we are being penalised.

C) Qualifying period anomalies: issues relating to the timing of benefit payments; - this didn’t affect us.

D) Receiving a nil reward on a Universal Credit payment, due to reasons such as sanctioning – we were placed on a nil rate Universal Credit because even though our rent is 675 per calendar month DWP only used 575 in their calculations so we fell under the threshold. If not for that we would have qualified even if only for a few pounds or some help towards the rent. Then they closed the claim with no request from us to do so.

E) Any other technicality you believe the Committee should investigate? The DWP and government using historic benefits as a way to claim the cost of living payments when there is no actual way of claiming these benefits anymore. It is an unachievable thing for someone to be able to do claim a benefit that no longer exists.


  1. How has the Department’s ad-hoc payment system and its design and use benefitted or limited the delivery of cost of living support?



May 2023