Counting the Costs 2018

A sharp rise in disabled children going without essentials including specialist therapies and equipment.

Disabled children going without presents and treats this Christmas.

All because of soaring disability costs and cuts to financial support. These are the startling new findings from our Counting the Costs 2018 research into the family finances of 2,772 families.

Key findings

  • 33 per cent of families have extra disability and care related costs of £300+ per month.
  • 40 per cent of disabled children are going without birthday and Christmas presents; 26 per cent are going without essential therapies.
  • 26 per cent of parents said their child's condition has worsened due to going without basics (up 4 per cent since 2014).
  • 33 per cent have taken out a loan to pay for food (compared to only 4 per cent a decade ago).
  • 36 per cent said that changes to the benefits system in the past two years have left their family worse off.

Read the full Counting the Costs 2018 UK report.

Our recommendations

In response to the findings of our Counting the Costs survey 2018, Contact is calling:

  • On the government to increase support towards disabled children's extra costs by uplifting rates of DLA, stopping cuts to child disability payments under Universal Credit and investing in a campaign to increase take up of child disability benefits.
  • On the government to plug the gap in funding for disabled children's services to increase free access to therapies and special equipment, so that families do not have to fund it themselves.
  • On employers to offer genuine flexible working arrangements to parent carers such as working from home options and time off for a child's health appointments.

What you can do

  • Help us promote our findings on social media and among your friends and family.
  • Donate to our Lifeline Appeal - we know that our Family Finances Helpline is vital for families struggling with finances, but its funding is at risk. For every £10 you give, we can secure an extra £130 for a family. If you can, please donate to help keep our Family Finances Helpline going.

More about Counting the Costs

Counting the Costs is our flagship research that we've carried out every two years since 2008. Thank you to everyone who completed our Counting the Costs 2018 survey. An amazing 2,716 people completed the survey, which gives us a unique snapshot of families' current financial situation.

Our campaign in 2014 achieved a number of improvements. Access to the Warm Home Discount Scheme was standardise to low income families with disabled children (and those with children under five).

The government also announced an increase in the maximum amount of money that parents of disabled children can pay into their childcare scheme accounts.