Today, the Office for National Statistics has released statistics which reveal that disabled people are one group who have been hit hardest during the coronavirus pandemic.

Latest ONS figures published in “Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: September 2020” show that:

  • Twice as many disabled people than non-disabled people reported that the coronavirus pandemic is making their mental health worse (41% for disabled people and 20% for non-disabled people)
  • 1 in 10 (11%) of disabled people think life will never return to normal compared with only 1 in 20 (5%) of non-disabled people
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of disabled people reported that they feel like a burden on others
  • Disabled people were less likely to feel that they had enough information about the Government’s plans to manage the coronavirus pandemic (40%) than non-disabled people (48%)
  • Around 5 in 10 (50%) disabled people who were receiving medical care before the coronavirus pandemic began, indicated that they were either currently receiving treatment for only some of their conditions (29%), or that their treatment had been cancelled or not started (22%), compared with less than 3 in 10 (27%) of non-disabled people who had a physical or mental health condition or illness and were receiving care before the pandemic.

A Mencap survey of 1,069 family carers of people with a learning disability about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic revealed that:

  • 7 in 10 people with a learning disability had their social care cut during lockdown at the same time as over two thirds of people saw their support needs increase.
  • This lack of social care support during this crisis has negatively impacted people with a learning disability in a number of ways, including their mental health (69%), relationships (73%), physical health (54%) and independence (67%).


Jackie O’Sullivan, Executive Director of Communications, Advocacy and Activism at the learning disability charity Mencap, said:

 “It’s shocking that disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to report that the coronavirus pandemic is making their mental health worse, and that one in ten worry their life will never return to normal.  

“Disabled people have been left to struggle without support when they have needed it most. During the pandemic, there have been cuts to vital social care services, a lack of accessible Government information and difficulties accessing healthcare. In some cases, disabled people have had inappropriate ‘Do Not Attempt CPR’ notices placed on their medical records.

“The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately hit disabled people and it’s no wonder they feel abandoned during this crisis. The Government must step up and give the support disabled people need if we are to avoid turning back the clock on their rights and life chances. This means providing an emergency injection of funding to social care so that vital support services can reopen safely and easy-read information so that everyone, including people with a learning disability, can understand the rules.”

Read the full ONS report online here:


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   For further information or to arrange interviews, contactMencap’smedia team on:


Notes to editors

1. Mencap is calling for:

  • a clear plan for supporting the whole care market, including services for work-aged disabled adults which currently make up over half of the total social care budget
  • additional funding to meet current demand for support and stabilise the sector
  • a road map towards the Government's plans for social care reform, including a long-term funding solution, fairer access to services and support and workforce reform
  • Social care reform and long-term funding must cover a range of services and support that people with a learning disability need beyond personal care to enable them to lead independent and fulfilling lives in their community.

2. The social care sector needed an £8 billion investment in social care in England is needed to restore adequate levels of quality and access to what it was a decade ago, according to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee report. While the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services’ latest Budget Survey revealed that there is a growing hole in local authorities budgets for services supporting people with a learning disability – up to £200m in 2020/21 from £180m in 2019/20.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to local councils in England facing at least a £6.6bn increase in social care costs up to the end of September, according to the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services.

About Mencap

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.Mencapworks to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.Mencapsupports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they

For advice and information about learning disability andMencapservices in your area, contactMencap’s FreephoneLearning Disability Helplineon 0808 808 1111 (10am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or     

What is a learning disability?

  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life;
  • Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’;
  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.