Disabled consumers are burdened with the "financial penalty" of on average £550 ($868) per month in extra living costs, an independent commission has found.
The Extra Costs Commission launched by disabled charity Scope has urged the government and regulators to intervene and stop the unfair costs that are not met by roughly £360 in disability benefit.
The study, led by a business leaders and consumer experts, has shown less competitive markets are costing disabled consumers, who face paying extra for goods and have a more limited choice.
In a survey of 2,500 disabled people and their families and 85 businesses, the commission found that three in four had been forced to leave a shop or business because of poor customer service and a lack of disability awareness.
Businesses are missing out on their share of £420m of revenue a week because of these problems and they are not getting their share of "the purple pound" – disabled spending power, worth £212bn.
Someone with a neurological condition, for example, will spend on average almost £200 a week on costs related to their disability, while someone with a physical impairment will spend almost £300.<sup>
However, not all of these extra costs are specific to an individual's condition. Almost all disabled people report high extra transport costs, most report difficulties affording insurance and many pay more for housing, fuel and energy.
Lesley lives in South Wales with her husband and two-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy.
"When my daughter's new specially adapted buggy arrived, I assumed it would have a shade and rain cover included, but no – and the cheapest I could find was £200. A rain cover for a non-adapted buggy is less than £20. It is an extra cost we hadn't budgeted for.
"We also have extra petrol costs getting to appointments – physiotherapy twice a week, orthotics every six weeks, paediatrician every three months, splint clinic every three months.
"We are paying for adaptations to the house to make it wheelchair-friendly – £600 so far and more to go. We paid £3,500 for a larger car too so we can fit all the extra equipment we need.
"We are responsible for maintenance of her lift and shower room, which means taking out insurance – another cost."
Extra Cost Commission chair and fund management industry veteran Robin Hindle Fisher said in a statement: "It is very clear that life costs more if you are disabled. The Extra Costs Commission has focused on finding market-based initiatives that can alleviate the impact that extra costs have on the lives of disabled people.
"Maintaining the value of benefits is absolutely critical but the Commission believes better functioning markets and increased competition can also play a part in improving services and driving down costs.
"The Commission has seen positive examples of businesses taking steps to improve their service for disabled people.
"Yet, much more needs to be done – a shocking three quarters of disabled people have left a shop or business because of poor disability awareness."