Me, My MS and I


Every Little Helps….

Today I handed in my application form for a Blue Badge. It was a lot easier than I thought, although the passport photo was terribly unflattering! I completed the form and my GP completed a medical declaration stating how my MS affects my mobility and to what degree, and then I handed it in with my £2 fee and 2 passport photos. I’m also being assessed for Disability Living Allowance tomorrow.

It’s prompted me to add a new post about some of the help available out there for MSers with reduced mobility as I didn’t know a lot of these things were available to make life easier and improve quality of life.

Blue Badge

The Blue Badge scheme allows an MSer with severe mobility problems access to disabled parking areas closer to shops and to on-street parking. You do not need to own a car – the badge acts like a ‘passport’ and applies to the person, not the vehicle. The scheme has variations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the Government provides a really helpful website with information on the scheme and links to the websites in the relevant countries: Blue Badge Scheme

Motability Scheme

If you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, you have the opportunity to own or lease a car through the Motability Scheme. It’s run by the not for profit organisation Motability and allows you to lease or buy a car at a special rate. Even if you do not have a driving license, you can apply for a car as a passenger and nominate 2 people as drivers. VAT relief is given on the cost of hiring  a car through the scheme, and if money is a problem, financial grants may be available. There is also a scheme for powered wheelchairs and scooters.

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax free benefit for adults and children who need help with personal care or have walking difficulties because they are mentally or physically disabled. The allowance is split into two components: the care component and the mobility component and are paid at different rates depending on how you are affected. Some people are entitled to both components, others to only one depending on the level of disability and the care required from others. You may qualify if: you have a physical or mental disablility or both, your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or you have walking difficulties or both, and you are under 65. DLA can be extremely helpful for people who suffer from MS. For more information, visit the Government website, which is really helpful. For over-65s, Attendance Allowance should be applied for.

Adapting Your Home

It may be necessary to adapt or alter your home in order to continue living independently and comfortably there, and there’s help available to do this. There are various forms of help available, including: grants, VAT relief and council tax reduction. Generally, an assessment is performed by an occupational therapist to determine what adjustments and adaptations are required to your home, and a grant is issued.  If your home is adapted so that a disabled person can live there, some council tax relief is available. Home Improvement Agencies can help give you free advice on what work needs done for adaptations, find architects and builders, and organise large adaptations. For more information, visit the Directgov site.

Equipment For The Home

Alongside hoists, stair lifts and powered adjustable beds, there are also handy gadgets for use about the home which make everyday life easier, including clamps to keep jars steady so they can be opened with one hand. If a piece of equipment will meet a need the local council has assessed you as having, you can use your direct payments to pay for or towards it. An occuptaional therapist may also be helpful to adapt how you perform everyday tasks to make life easier. For more information, visit the Directgov site.

Access To Work

Access to Work might pay towards the equipment you need at work, adapting premises to meet your needs, or a support worker. It can also pay towards the cost of getting to work if you cannot use public transport. Help with travel to work may be of particular benefit if you find physical disability is making getting to work every day very difficult or expensive. If you need a communicator at job interviews, Access to Work may be available, too. You may be able to get Access To Work help if you’re in employment or about to start employment and your disability stops you from doing certain aspects of your job.

There are so many things out the there to help make life easier – a lot more than I thought there were! Have a look and perhaps there may be something that could help you.

Useful Links

Directgov – http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/index.htm

MS Society – Benefits and Grants – http://www.mssociety.org.uk/about_ms/benefits_and_grants/index.html

MS Trust – Benefits and Tax Credits – http://www.mstrust.co.uk/information/livingwithms/benefits.jsp



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