Independent Lives unveils groundbreaking research on cost-of-living impact on disabled people and carers

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Independent Lives has today released a comprehensive report detailing the severe impact of the cost-of-living crisis on disabled people and carers in Sussex. The research, conducted over 12 months and funded by NHS Health Education England, reveals a community struggling to manage their most basic needs:

  1. Disabled people and carers forced to make difficult choices between heating, eating, and care.
  2. Limited options contributing to feelings of being trapped.
  3. Individuals surviving but not thriving.
  4. Devastating impact on mental health due to the cost-of-living crisis.

The research, led by Independent Lives’ community researchers Polly Bishop, Cara Redlich, and Gareth Shephard, involved surveys and face-to-face interviews with disabled people and carers across Sussex. The researchers were supported by the University of Reading and the Scottish Community Development Centre throughout the study. Findings paint a stark picture of the challenges faced by this vulnerable group.

Rebecca Smicle, Chief Executive of Independent Lives, commented on the research:

“This report brings to light the harsh realities faced by disabled people and carers every day. The experiences and heartfelt pleas expressed by participants underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions. We hope this research will foster greater understanding and empathy, catalysing meaningful change in how we support disabled individuals and carers.”

The full report, along with supporting materials including video interviews with disabled people and carers affected by the cost-of-living, an audioscape, and a complete list of survey comments.  All are available on the Independent Lives website.

Independent Lives calls on policymakers to take immediate action to address these challenges to create a more inclusive and equitable society. For more information about the research and to access the full report, please visit