How Record Inflation Hit Individuals with Disabilities the Hardest
Almost everyone has noticed the ever-increasing prices of items we need for the basic standards of living. From rent and groceries to gas and utilities, the post-pandemic, record-breaking inflation has left many of us trying to figure out what we can cut so we can pay our bills. For individuals living with disabilities, this current financial crisis has become a life-threatening situation, with many being forced to sacrifice their, already low, standards of living.
Why has record inflation hit individuals living with disabilities the hardest? Take a look with Direct Care Innovations at why this vulnerable population is now living with decreased financial stability.
Most individuals living with disabilities are on fixed incomes, which are sourced from various areas depending on personal situations. Those who are over 65 and were able to work before becoming disabled, typically receive income from four different sources — pension, retirement savings, Social Security benefits, and disability benefits. All but their personal retirement savings are established by the government. The only financial wiggle room they have is their retirement. They can pull from their savings, but as a result, they have less to rely on for their future.
Individuals who are under 65 and living with a disability often have two sources of income: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI payments are for those who previously worked but are now unable to due to a disability. They are based on the individual’s income prior to the disability. Low-income individuals living with disabilities qualify for SSI payments, which are typically less than SSDI payments, regardless of their work history.
We’re all used to managing the effects of regular inflation, where prices steadily and slowly increase over time. If this were the current situation, those who rely on their disability income may not have as tough a time managing their finances. The truth is, the pandemic brought record inflation and huge price jumps in many areas. Many individuals living with disabilities are feeling it the hardest, especially when paying for basic standards of living.
With increasing rent prices, many are finding that half or most of their discretionary income is tied up in rental payments. According to Rent.com, rent has risen considerably compared to pre-pandemic rates, with a current median rental price of $1,942. The Consumer Price Index has noted an increase from 2022 to 2023 in the following items necessary for daily living:
- Food prices have risen by 10.1%.
- Energy services are up by 15.6%.
- Medical care has increased by 3.0%.
- Transportation services (vehicle repair and vehicle insurance) are up by 14.6%.
Increasing prices for basic standards of living places individuals living with disabilities at a distinct disadvantage. There’s not much they can do when having to take care of rising living expenses on a fixed income. They can search for a different place to live that is lower in rent (which is nearly impossible with the increase in rental prices) so they can pay for things like food, car maintenance, and utilities. Or, they can sacrifice basic necessities, like quality medical care, in order to keep up with rising costs.
The combination of fixed income and record inflation has the potential to leave many without housing, placing them at risk for poor physical and mental health, unsafe living situations, and alcohol or drug abuse. This has left many individuals with disabilities questioning their ability to live independently. While everyone feels the hit of current inflation conditions, the lasting effects are especially dire for those living with disabilities.
Helping Agencies Provide Affordable Care
We all need to do our part in managing the lasting effects of record-high inflation. DCI is here to help you better serve your clients with our affordable and comprehensive home healthcare business management software. Request a sales demo by calling (480) 295-3307. Various modules include real-time authorization management, custom automated workflows, care management, and electronic visit verification.
Source: Wester, Daphne. “The Pandemic’s Record Inflation: Why It Hits Seniors and People with Disabilities the Hardest.” Blog article. Accessibility, Inc. 18 Feb. 2022. Web. 07 Feb. 2023.