Virendra Sharma MP attended a Parliamentary reception following the launch of the MS Society’s new campaign MS: Enough which is calling for a benefits system that makes sense for people with the condition…reports Asian Lite news.
“Many MS sufferers are being failed by the current system, and I would like to join with the MS Society to call on the government and Iain Duncan Smith MP to change the way ESA assessments are made.” Sharma said.
More than a third of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who claim disability benefits are finding problematic assessments are harming their health, according to a new MS Society report.
In a UK survey of people with MS, nearly half (48%) of those who had an assessment for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) feel the process caused their condition to deteriorate or relapse.
And 36% of those who had a face-to-face assessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP)* feel the same.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “Having MS is enough; it should not be made harder by a welfare system that doesn’t make sense for people living with the condition.
“Lack of understanding of the condition and the failure to use information from medical professionals is causing stress or contributing to relapses and deteriorating health.
“This is counterintuitive to a system designed to support people with disabilities.
“The Government needs to recognise the reality of living with MS and make basic, common sense changes, fast.”
Furthermore, 9% of nearly 1,800 respondents say they have reduced spending on attending hospital appointments and 9% cut down on medical treatment or prescriptions, as a result of benefit changes.
The campaign 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;
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