‘We had to borrow money, use a food bank and jump through constant hoops’: Dan’s pandemic story

2 mins read

Thursday 2 December 2021

Tags: counting the costs, campaigns, welfare benefits, pandemic

Families have been sharing their experiences about the financial impact of the pandemic, as part of our Counting the Costs campaign.

Lauren and Dan from Cobham in Surrey have two children with ASD. Dante is 3 and Allegra is 5. Dante has severe and complex needs and is non verbal.

Borrowing money to pay the bills

Dan said: “I had my own cleaning business when the pandemic hit and all work completely dried up. It was our family’s only source of income as Lauren was full-time carer at the time. We had to borrow money to pay the bills for a while and had to use a food bank, which added to the stress of the situation.

“This was made worse due to our housing situation. We are in a small two-bedroom flat. Dante and Allegra have to share even though they have been assessed as needing a bedroom each. During lockdown, the lack of space for Dante to have peace and quiet caused major issues.

“We are trying our hardest, but are not helped by the system and having to constantly jump through hoops to get support and financial help we are entitled to.”

Devastating drop in household income

Contact’s Counting the Costs 2021 survey found that almost half of families with disabled children report a devastating drop in household income of £48 a week – or £2,500 a year – due to the pandemic. And that’s before the Universal Credit £20 uplift ended on 6 October 2021.

Join other families to call for benefits system that values carers

Join our Counting the Costs campaign to call for a benefits and support system that genuinely values carers. Email our template letter to your MP demanding change.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our survey and helped shine a light on the critical situation many families are in.