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Almost half of all employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants with multiple sclerosis (MS) believe that the assessment process harms their health, according to a new survey by the MS Society. Over a third of personal independence payment (PIP) claimants with MS also felt that the assessment process caused their condition to deteriorate.

As well as 48% of ESA claimants and 36% of PIP claimants being made worse by their assessment itself, a large number are suffering as a result of benefits cuts.

  • 32% have cut down on food
  • 28% have cut down on transport
  • 41% have cut down on socialising with family and friends.

The MS Society is calling for:

  • disability benefits assessments to take into account the fluctuating and hidden symptoms of MS and their impact accurately
  • the disability benefits system to take adequate account of evidence provided by experienced professionals who understand the person’s condition
  • existing criteria which do not reflect the barriers faced by people with MS to be changed
  • people with MS to be able to rely on support when they need it, without unnecessary burden or constant fear of having it taken away
  • the Government to undertake a full impact assessment of any further changes they undertake to disability benefits – including the knock on effects on other areas of public spending such as health and social care
  • the Government to work with the disabled community and disability organisations to ensure that back to work support is adequate and addresses the barriers individuals face

You can read more on the MS Society website.


#8 Josie 2015-10-25 12:41
I suffer with fibromyalgia which is a condition of the central nervous system like M's and I had to apply for pip as my DLA claim ran out, and I was turned down, had medical, I then received letter for medical for ESA, I'm in support group, I was unable to attend medical as I was I'll, no credit on phone so was unable to contact them, I live on my own, they stopped my ESA and I had to write asking for then to reconsider there decision, that was four weeks ago, had to put in fresh claim for ESA and housing benefit, received no money in meantime, what do they expect u to eat, its made my health worse.
#7 E Thomas 2015-09-28 17:41
We should stop talking about separate ailments. For anyone with delicate health or with progressive or incurable disease or disorder the WCA process and claiming for PIP is bound to make many conditions worse.
As a sufferer of severe Bipolar I am in a constant state of anxiety waiting for my DLA to be reassessed under PIP (any time soon for those in my post code) - I see a white or a brown envelope on my door mat and I panick. I can barely eat; my cholesterol went up after I was reassessed to see if I still had osteoarthritis, fatigue and Bipolar with bells on (people don't realise how serious it can be: I did not have children because my condition is so severe) I got awarded ESA and got yet another form 9 months later. They have left me alone over a year now, but I have to go through days of hell filling in the forms with all my symptoms and difficulties - it has affected my immune system as well. After the last one I was not only due to have surgery, I also suffered from around three viruses for the following months.
I honestly believe that welfare reform has knocked years off my life. I have failed to go to my GPs for blood tests as I don't want to know about anything else I could have wrong with me....
#6 Jim Allison 2015-09-18 11:22
It certainly does. See this link from the www.gov.uk site site which gives good information on medical conditions from A-Z at :


This medical guidance covers medical conditions for adults. It's for Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance Decision Makers, developed by the Department's Health and Wellbeing Directorate with help from experts involved in patient care. It contains background information on the more common medical conditions in DLA/AA claims, their treatment, the likely disabling effects together with the likely impact on ability to self care and get around.

This guide is for staff who deal with claims for DLA/PIP and AA. It covers only the most common conditions they encounter – not all medical conditions. Decision Makers are advised to discuss with the Departments Medical Services provider if necessary.
+5 #5 Andy Grantham 2015-09-18 00:48
As an MS'er, I can understand what they are saying. My last DLA claim took 6 months to decide and I had to get my MP involved. As a result of this stress to my body, I now have to use a wheelchair to go any long distance as my mobility has been severely curtailed when I go out as I can only walk about 20 metres, caused by the stress of claiming DLA. I certainly ain't looking forward to the time when I have to claim PIP.
+2 #4 Jim Allison 2015-09-17 22:21
I am 74 years of age and was diagnosed with MS in 1986. MS comes in many forms, benign MS, remitting relapsing MS, secondary progressive MS & primary progressive MS. However, these are just 'labels'. MS is not a terminal illness, but it can and often does make it difficult with walking, fatigue, balance etc.

If anyone needs advice on MS, you can e-mail me at welfare advice@me.com since as well as having MS, I was a welfare rights lawyer. I will do my best to reply to you and to offer advice, but I cannot take on any casework.
+8 #3 tintack 2015-09-16 00:15
Quoting MarkW:
Life becomes hell, make no mistake; how one continues under this cloud I don't know........

Some don't, not just with MS but other illnesses too. On which note, all credit to Jeremy Corbyn for his TUC speech, in which he expressed his disgust at a government which passes regulations it knows are driving sick and disabled people to suicide. A national scandal which the media will be covering, right? Well, no. The papers are apparently all going with the shocking revelation that "staunch republican doesn't sing God Save the Queen". Because that's obviously far more important. Newsnight made its own contribution, describing the national anthem story as a distraction, before going straight on to discuss it at the expense of the substantive issues raised by Corbyn in his speech.

I used to think that however bad the Tory press is, at least it could never be as bad as Fox News. At the moment they're making Fox News look like a model of journalistic integrity. Shallow, dishonest, corrupt and rotten to the core.
+8 #2 MarkW 2015-09-15 18:21
SusanH has it spot on!
There are many conditions that can be affected by being physically tested.; increased pain on the day or afterwards, that is likely to be short term.
But if we get into the realms of stress - the worry of when will the next test letter arrive, will it arrive, might I be away and miss a deadline, might the phone ring, will a brown envelope come today, maybe tomorrow. That is when fear, panic attacks, dread of visitors, dread of going out, frightened of life, all kicks in.
Life becomes hell, make no mistake; how one continues under this cloud I don't know........
+11 #1 SusanH 2015-09-15 08:59
I agree with all of the above but it applies to other conditions too.

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