We understand that a diagnosis of MS is hard and we are here to try and help members cope with the diagnosis. One of the more practical things we can help with is state benefits. We have a wealth of experience and can point you towards lots of useful information and agencies who can help with applications. If you need help with any benefits please contact your Support Team Volunteer or the Lead Support Volunteer who will pass your query to the Benefits Volunteers.
The MS Society has leaflets and information on all state benefits that can be found here.
As guidance, here is a list of the benefits applicable to most people with MS:
All Members with MS
Disability Living Allowance – DLA
All Members not in Employment
All members who are not in employment because of their MS may be entitled to Incapacity Benefit (IB) which has now been re-named Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Please note that anyone in receipt of a War Pension of 60% plus should have their IB transferred to the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA), called Unemployability supplement.
We have covered ESA in some detail on a separate page called ESA. It is a complicated benefit so please do ask us for guides and information we can point you towards to help with your claim.
Carers Allowance (CA)
All members who are in receipt of Attendance Allowance (AA) or DLA care component at the middle or highest rate, and have somebody caring for them for 35 hours a week or more, must ensure that their carer (who can live with you and be a partner or family member) considers making a claim for Carers Allowance.
Any of these benefits can be claimed by calling the Benefit Enquiry line on 08002200 UK or 0800220674 for NI.
Details of all benefits applicable to the ill or injured can also be found on the DirectGov website.
Blue Badge Scheme
Many people with MS may be entitled to a blue badge; the scheme varies from region to region, but to apply contact the disability advisor at your local council or call 01384 257001.
If you receive DLA mobility component at the higher level or the enhanced rate of the mobility element for PIP or a WP mobility supplement you may be entitled to this scheme and essentially swap the benefit for a car, powered wheelchair or mobility scooter (additional contributions may be necessary). For enquiries about the scheme for cars call 0845 456 4566 and for wheelchairs and scooters call 08456076260 or visit the Motability website.
Exemption from Road Tax
If you get DLA mobility component at the higher rate or WP mobility supplement, you can apply for an exemption from Vehicle Excise duty (VED). Information on the scheme can be found on the DirectGov website. War pensioners can contact the SPVA for advice and others can contact Swansea on 0870 2400010.
Disabled Persons Railcard
Numerous allowances will entitle you to apply for a disabled railcard that entitles you to one-third off the cost of most journeys. There is a small cost for the card, but they quickly pay for themselves, often with the first use! For info call 0845 6050525 or visit the website.
Congestion Charges – Central London
If your vehicle is exempt from tax you will automatically be exempt from this charge. If your vehicle is not exempt but you have a blue badge, you can apply for an exemption on 0845 9001234, but there is a £10 admin fee to pay. Further information can be found on the Transport for London website.
Other Public Transport
Most councils operate some form of concession on public transport for disabled residents and your local council offices will advise.
Veterans in receipt of a WP can apply for a free Oyster card entitling them to free travel on almost any mode of public transport almost anywhere in London! For those who do not get a WP other concessions apply.
Many toll roads and bridges allow blue badge holders to pass through free on presentation of their badge. Some, like the M6 toll road, require badge holders to apply for a pass for which they make a small charge.
Disabled people in receipt of certain benefits can apply for a card entitling them to free entry for the person accompanying them to most cinemas. This card is operated by the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association. This is a national card that entitles the holder to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema. A processing fee of £5.50 is chargeable per card and an application form can be downloaded from the above website.
Council Tax Reduction
The Disabled Band Reduction Scheme aims to ensure that disabled people do not pay more council tax because they live in a larger property than they would have needed if they were not disabled. Having a disability does not automatically entitle you to a reduction. Further details can be found on the DirectGov website.
Visit the MS Society web-site publications area where you will find leaflets on all benefits applicable to people with MS.
The above is not intended to be a full and comprehensive guide to every allowance members may be entitled to and does not, for example, cover any of the means-tested benefits. If you have a suggestion for anything you would like to see added here please send us a message via General Enquiries on our contact us page and let us know.