A new study suggests that people with disabilities in the UK will "struggle for survival" over the coming years.
Funded by Scope, the Demos study Destination Unknown has been tracking the lives of disabled people for two years, through the various reforms and austerity measures. The results paint a worry picture of the deteriorating quality of life for many people in Britain.
Since the Emergency Budget, people with disabilities and their carers have seen a drop in income of £500 million. However, the overall cuts to disability support mean that the predicated loss is expected to rise to £9 billion in 2015.
Claudia Wood, Deputy Director of Demos and author of the report said that for disabled people, the worst is yet to come:
"The safety net has well and truly gone.
"Two decades of progress in disabled people’s living standards is being unravelled as disabled people’s quality of life is being narrowed."
By 2016, it is expected that a further 500,000 people will have lost their Disability Living Allowance. By 2014 it is possible that 36 percent of existing Incapacity Benefit claimants will no longer be able to get this vital support.
Overall, the report criticises the government for not better considering the impact cuts will have on disabled people and their support needs.
Claudia Wood continued, "The human cost of the austerity measures is being overlooked because the Government only assesses the impact of one cut at a time, in isolation from the rest.
"But that’s not how people live their lives.
“In reality, disabled families rely on a range of benefits and services and so now are struggling with a toxic combination of lower income, higher living costs and fewer services to support them.
"The cumulative impact of this at household level has seen carers stretched to breaking point and people telling us they have gone from ‘getting on with living’ to ‘struggling to survive'.”
The report further lists four major trends that are set to dominated disabled families' lives over the next two years: an increase in those struggling for survival, less civic and social engagement, declining mental health, and more informal care being completed by family and friends.
Chief Executive of Scope, Richard Hawkes said that while "times are tough" for everyone, disabled people are amongst some of the hardest hit:
"This report shows just how badly disabled people and their families have been affected by cuts to date.
"Disabled people are facing spiralling living costs at the same time as their financial support and local social services are falling away. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are further cuts looming."
Scope are appealing to the government to take a closer look at their reforms now, before it is too late.
“We urge the Government to take action now," says Richard Hawkes, "before the majority of its reforms come into effect, and to ensure disabled people do not bear the brunt of its austerity measures.”
Read the full Destination Unknown report by visiting: www.scope.org.uk/news/destination-unknown