ESA and the future.


My wife, Joyce has only just been formally diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS (on 27/11/2020) but the consultant believes she’s been suffering from this condition for the last 12 years and her symptoms have she’s gradually gotten worse. (Joyce had a brain scan in January 2020 and was told she probably had MS in May but they couldn’t confirm it until a face to face appointment could be arranged; hence the delay to November,)

Over the last 3 years Joyce has had to reduce her workload (childminder) from full time to just 6-10 hours a week now as she gets really tired and she gets what she calls fizzing (I think they call it Lhermitte’s and is worse in her hands and feet) and bad headaches. She also gets pains in her neck, back and limbs.

Following a suggestion from a family member Joyce applied for ESA after her formal diagnosis and has just received a letter back saying she will get this but it will end in December 2021 as Joyce can only receive it for 52 weeks as she has not been been put in support group.

I work so we have been managing as her income reduced over the last 3 years but this extra money is very welcome.

But what does Joyce do in a years time when they stop her money as her condition isn’t going to get any better?

I’m also really worried about her health as Joyce is getting nothing other than gabapentin to help reduce her fizzing and is still awaiting contact from the nurse in the MS clinic about support and treatment.


Steve (and Joyce)

Well if you want my opinion you should appeal their decision, somewhere on the letter your wife received it should say “if you don’t agree with this you can appeal” and when you do send as much evidence to support your wife’s diagnoses, good luck.

Jean x

Hello Steve (and Joyce)

The problem with ESA is that it’s quite difficult to be placed in the Support Group. You have to be fairly disabled in order to get that decision.

However, as Jean suggested, you can appeal the decision. You only have one calendar month from the date of the decision to put Joyce in the Work Related group though, so may already be out of time (or maybe not?)

I suggest you have a look at They have a lot of members only guides to ESA and to PIP (which Joyce could also consider claiming). Membership of the site costs about £20 per year. Alternatively see The CAB have many pages of useful information.

Best of luck.


Excellent replies, I can only add that when the year ends you will probably be able to reapply.

Jan x

Thank you for all the helpful replies. We’ll get on with this.

Hi for free benefit info, I joined SCOPE on line support group. They are very knowledgable on benefits.


Hello Steve and Joyce, the MS Society have a Benefits Adviser that you can talk to. If you ring their Helpline, on 0808 800 8000, and ask to speak to the Benefits Adviser they’ll put you through to them.

Good luck

Hi Steve and Joyce

Excellent advice above and I second Sue’s suggestion about Benefits and Work. Loads of useful advice on there. They also have free on line eligibility tests which you can take for ESA and Pip to see if you would be eligible and in what group it would place you. You should also phone the DWP and get a copy of the medical report that the DWP based their decision on. They should release this as a decision has been made. You can then see if there are areas that you disgree with and where you could submit further evidence. You also have to submit a ‘Mandatiory reconsideration’ before you can go to appeal.

One other tip I would give you is to start gathering evidence to support your claims, such as Doctors and Consultant letters. I also keep receipts for any equipment I have had to purchase. I also started a diary when I was diagnosed 8 years ago and note any change in symptoms, medication or other events such as falls.

Now that you have entered the maze that is our current benefits system, the more you can bombard them with quality evidence, there is more likelihood of the award you deserve (although not guaranteed).

Good luck

Hi Steve,

the year is due to the award being income elated. This applies to all claims when you have enough (according to the dwp) to live on and or a partner is working. There is nothing stopping your wife be reassessed for the support group which would allow the payments to continue.

Has your wife applied for PIP? If not do so. The MS society have a very good section on how to fill in the forms for maximum benefit.

1 Like

Hi everyone and thanks for the great responses. We’ve gone through the online eligibility tests that were recommended and it looks like Joyce isn’t poorly enough to qualify for PIP and the work related group for ESA is the correct one at the moment.

Maybe we need to rethink the questions and the answers Maybe we should both be very grateful Joyce’s symptoms have not hugely affected her mobility or self-sufficiency yet.

BTW… Can MS make you have noises in your head? Yesterday Joyce started getting noises like the wind and sound of a train charging down a tunnel. She’s had to take out her hearing aids and has spent most the time in bed since yesterday teatime. It’s driving her frantic.


Steve and Joyce

Hi again, could Joyce be suffering from tinnitus? But I know hearing aids do whislte and squeal. Does Joyce hear the nosies even without the hearing aids?