Money Wellness
A teacher helps a boy with learning difficulties during a craft lesson
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calendar icon21 Jun 2023

Learning Disability Week: cost-of-living crisis worse for disabled children and their families

To mark Learning Disability Week, we’re looking at how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

SEND kids struggling due to cost-of-living crisis

The cost-of-living crisis has hit SEND children and their families harder than most, according to a recent report.

Research by the Childhood Trust found 75% of social workers are convinced the problems faced by SEND children are being made worse by the cost-of-living crisis. Of those, 94% described the increased difficulties youngsters are facing as severe.

The affects of the cost-of-living crisis were also judged to be worse for children with SEND, compared to those without, by 71% of social workers and 83% of charities surveyed.

A huge 96% of social workers said they couldn’t offer as much support as before to SEND children as a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis.

Knock-on effect on children's mental health

And this appears to be having a knock-on effect on the mental health of children, with 87% of charities saying the psychological wellbeing of youngsters is suffering.

This view is supported by SEND children themselves, with 60% saying they don’t think they are seen as being worthy of support.

SEND kids forced to go without

Rising energy bills have left a significant proportion of SEND children without enough heating or electricity. Some 58% of those surveyed said their families have struggled to keep the heating on and one in four said they’d had to limit their electricity use.

There has also been an increase in food poverty among SEND children, with 69% of charities saying the number not getting enough high-quality food has risen noticeably.

The cost-of-living crisis has also reportedly had an impact on school attendance. The research found 55% of SEND children had missed school many times in the last three months, as a result of financial pressures at home.

If you’re struggling

If you have a child with SEND and you’re struggling financially, check out our guide on disability, sickness and carer benefits to make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to.

You can also get in touch for free debt advice, if you're struggling to make ends meet.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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