from the BBC
.Families with disabled children are struggling to pay household bills as the downturn hits their already stretched finances, a survey suggests.
Contact a Family surveyed 1,113 people about how they were coping financially and found 23% went without heating and 14% missed meals to make ends meet.
The group said the slump has left many parents at "breaking point".
It is calling on the government to protect families in the forthcoming comprehensive spending review.
Srabani Sen, chief executive of Contact a Family, said: "Many families with disabled children are in financial dire straits.
"Everyone has been hit hard by the recession but families with disabled children were already having to cope with a harsh combination of extra living costs and the difficulty of holding down a job and caring.
"These financial pressures have been worsened by the economic slump and have left many at breaking point.
Researchers found that 23%, almost one in four, had to turn off their heating to save money and one in seven, 14%, are going without food.
Almost three-quarters, 73%, said they had to forego leisure activities and days out, while 68% are not taking any holidays.
Bryan Clover of the charity Elizabeth Finn Care warned the situation will get worse when the government switches the measure of inflation its uses to calculate benefit rises, from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index, which excludes housing costs.
Mr Clover said: "The impact of that is anything that they buy from now on will feel more expensive, its going to cost them more they will have less disposable income to use. Every single thing is going to be more expensive and that means hardship is really going to start biting"