One of the things I have found to be a common challenge amongst the disabled and neurodivergent communities is issues linked to finances.. In 2023 Scope has reported, “Life costs an extra £975 a month on average if you're disabled.” Talk Money Week is just around the corner, and this seems to be an opportunity to highlight the need for disabled and neurodivergent people to effectively budget in order to aid independence.
Renting or buying a property can be tough for anyone, particularly in the current economic environment. However often people with a disability or neurodivergent condition are not given the same playing field as those without and they are starting from a position where they are unable to afford a suitable place to even rent, let alone buy outright. The thing that needs to be remembered is that disabled and neurodivergent individuals contribute massively to the overall economy. Yet these very same people are not always rewarded for this. “Disabled people in the UK are almost twice as likely to be unemployed.” (Scope 2023) Enrych plans to help level this playing field with our employability support programme and empower people to get into work, closing the financial gap!
Even for your average person, the housing market goes through its peaks and troughs, making it difficult for first time buyers or for people looking to rent somewhere that meets their needs. But when you have the additional challenges, this is an additional financial mountain to climb.
Of course, in the current climate, energy bills and food prices have also increased, which leaves people who live with additional challenges unable to spend as much in other areas of their life that are important for wellbeing. It is almost bordering on ventriloquism trying to balance your finances. In a best case scenario, you’d like to budget for healthy and nutritious food to make healthy meals throughout the week, perhaps some money towards a gym membership, and then the rest would be spent on gas, electric and other living costs. But a person, regardless of disability, should be able to live and enjoy themselves, away from the stress of figuring out month to month or week to week, what their expenditure will be. There are a number of other social activities people might enjoy doing, such as going bowling, cinema, music or sporting events. Even before the financial outlay on these things, the cost to getting there, particularly for those who are unable to drive can be prohibitive.
The best thing to do even in such challenging financial times is to do what you can to plan for the coming months. Focus on one thing in particular, whether that is speaking to a family member about disposable income, starting a weekly budget, or reviewing any money spent on non-essentials. But it should be fully person-centred, and not dictated to be external factors. I have a number of people I connect with throughout the neurodivergent community who have been able to effectively review their own finances and decide what things they would willingly spend less on. This way, they can then allocate any excess on their living arrangements, and hope that over time, the costs of things will deflate, at least to a certain degree.
Ultimately, there really needs to be a plan to level the playing field and help create financial stability across the board. People with a disability often have to work extra hard in order to make ends meet, as factually, for people living with a neurodivergent condition or disability also have to pay a substantial amount for any treatment for associated health conditions, of which many also suffer. Hopefully, over time, the gaps will lessen, as there are so many in difficult scenarios due to no fault of their own. Financial freedom should be on the horizon!