Families with disabled children often struggle to afford food and heating, forcing them to borrow money to make ends meet.
A new report claims nearly one in four parents with disabled children go without heating, while 14% go without food.
And a shocking 51% of those questioned by charity Contact A Family, said they had borrowed money from family or friends to buy essentials - an increase of nearly 10% from 2008 figures.
The UK charity said financial difficulties have become the norm for families, a situation made even worse by the country's recent economic problems.
"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," said the group's chief executive Srabani Sen.
"These financial pressures have been worsened by the economic slump and have left many at breaking point."
Around 60% of parents are unable to work due to the difficulties of juggling employment and caring.
Many say they would like to return to work but they struggle to find flexible employment and affordable childcare with nearly half turning to charities for grants to help keep them afloat.
But disabled families do not just suffer financially, three quarters said they had gone without days out and leisure time with their family and a further 68% said they had sacrificed holidays.
Ms Sen called on the Government to ensure that families with disabled children are protected in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.
Minister for disabled people, Maria Miller, offered reassurances, saying the welfare system for disabled families is being reformed and simplified.
Children's minister Sarah Teather has also announced plans for a Green Paper in the autumn which will look at how support for disabled children and their families can be improved.