A petition set up by a Suffolk resident to reinstate the Disability Cost of Living Payment has accumulated more than 50,000 signatures.

Bury St Edmunds resident Thomas Howard launched a change.org petition on December 15, which has now been signed more than 53,000 times, calling for the government to reintroduce and revise Disability Cost of Living support payments. 

Thomas, who has autism, said he was inspired to campaign for the support after meeting new people within the disabled community who shared their stories and struggles with him. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Thomas Howard (left) with his partner Daniel Thomas Howard (left) with his partner Daniel (Image: Thomas Howard)

"Some people started mentioning Disability Cost of Living Payments and that prompted me to do research," he said.

"Everything is still increasing and we are still in a cost of living crisis, why would the government stop support for disabled people?" 

According to the government website, most eligible people were paid the £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment automatically between June 20, 2023, and  July 4, 2023.

Thomas said he would like to see this revised and reinstated to make it more regular and a more reasonable sum. 

He said he feels disabled individuals, particularly ones who may need to pay for equipment like machines to aid breathing or specialist lighting or those who need to heat their home to a set temperature for health reasons, need greater support. 

Of the 52,000 names, Thomas said: "The response I have received has been overwhelming.

"I was hoping to send it off at 5,000 signatures but I hit 4,000 and I went to bed that night and overnight it had 10,000. It has kept going from there." 

In a post alongside his online petition, Thomas wrote: "The reinstatement of this payment is not just about money; it's about dignity, independence and survival for thousands across our nation."