Money Matters: How could support for people with disabilities be impacted by the election result?

In this week’s Money Matters column, Wrekin’s debt and energy manager Dan Bebbington explores proposed changes to benefits and wider support for people with disabilities and health conditions.

By the end of this week, we will know whether it will be Labour or the Conservatives running the show for the next five years.

Whoever wins the election, there are likely to be changes to the benefits and other support people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, both physical and mental, can access.

Our Money Matters team at the Wrekin Housing Group sees first-hand the impact of disabilities and health conditions can have on all aspects of people’s lives, including their personal finances, and it is absolutely clear that things need to change.

It’s a vicious cycle. Financial hardship can lead to a deterioration in health or exacerbation of a disability, for example if someone cannot afford to eat properly or put the heating on.

It can also impact mental health, due to the worry and stress that comes with struggling to pay bills or getting into debt.

Then because the NHS is also struggling, people are unable to get the right support and early intervention they need.

Many of the people we are supporting have got acute mental health issues, but can’t see a professional because waiting lists are so long.

In situations like this, we then often see a person’s financial situation get worse, if they have to take time off work sick, or if their mental health deteriorates to a point where they are unable to keep track of their finances.

That’s what disability benefits are there for, right? Well if the right early intervention was in place, fewer people would need this safety net – and the safety net itself does not catch everyone, with too many still falling through it due to difficulty ‘proving’ their struggles.

The new government has to tackle this crisis head-on with a holistic approach, for the sake of people’s health, wellbeing and financial stability.

So, what are the main parties promising? Labour says it wants to support more people with health conditions and disabilities into work if they are able, including making it easier to access ‘reasonable adjustments’. They will also reform work capability assessments.

Turning to the NHS, the party says it’s committed to bringing waiting lists down and recruiting more mental health workers.

The Conservatives have also addressed these issues in their manifesto, with a focus on reducing the number of people claiming disability benefits. In particular, they say people with mental health conditions might be better helped with treatment or other support rather than Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

They have said they will expand mental health support, so that fewer people find themselves unable to work.

Wrekin Housing Group customers can contact our Money Matters team if they are worried about their personal finances.

3rd July 2024