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.