Going back to work, advice please

Firstly, I work two jobs to keep a roof over our heads; one full time mon-fri 35 hours per week and the other 20 hours a week in the evenings and on weekends.

I have been off work due to a relapse recently and am due to return soon.

My full time employer has requested I return on a phased return working only 4 hours per day at first then looking to increase my hours steadily over the weeks until I am back to the full 35 hours. My SSP entitlement will be used to cover the hours I will not actually be working to ensure I still receive my full salary.

As I will effectively still be being paid SSP even though I am back at work, does this have any implications on returning to work for my second employer (who will not accomodate a phased return as the shifts I work for them are relatively short anyway).

i.e. At first I will be working for my main employer 8-12 Monday to Friday (4 hours) the remaining 3 hours of my shift being paid to me as SSP (even though they have not been worked) and then 4 hours each evening Mon, Wed, Thurs and 8 hours either Sat or Sun depending on my rota with my second employer.

Am I allowed to work the second job at the full contractual hours if I am working reduced hours for in my main job whilst receiving SSP?

First I will say you MUST for your health give up your second job. I appreciate how difficult financially this would be and I commend you for trying to do it on your own.

If it is MS you have it’s a nasty piece of work that makes you obey the restrictions it lays down. You MUST obey or suffer the consequences; think about altering your lifestyle to cope.

Start to claim DLA; a benefit that may make up for the lost revenue of your second job.

Ring 0800 882200 and ask for the forms; if/when awarded payments go back to this phone call. Contact DIAL http://www.dialuk.info/ who will come around your house and help with the forms. Or Benefits and work http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/ who give excellent advice costs £19.40 per year. The DLS give excellent free advice http://www.dls.org.uk/advice/factsheet/factsheets_download.html it is essential you get help.

Good luck


Your MS nurse or your local CAB will also be invaluable when completing the forms. So many claims are rejected for the most purile of reasons but your nurse / CAB will know exactly what to say and how to phrase it acceptably.

One other point - you cannot claim DLA until 3 months from the date of diagnosis.

Good luck.

Your MS nurse or your local CAB will also be invaluable when completing the forms. So many claims are rejected for the most purile of reasons but your nurse / CAB will know exactly what to say and how to phrase it acceptably.

One other point - you cannot claim DLA until 3 months from the date of diagnosis.

Good luck.

Sorry MrsH but you do not need to be diagnosed to get DLA.

Only saying what I was told by my local DWP office when I tried to obtain claim forms.

Just checked with DWP advice line and the advisor told me that there is indeed a 3 month qualifying period from date of diagnosis.


Just checking. You can get DLA if you are three months from being diagnosed? It is a pittance though isn’t it?

I was looking at the criteria for eligibility and it seems quite tough i.e. you might get it if you have no feet or legs.

I get the impression it may be difficult to get.



Yeah - I have been warned!!! A friend of ours cares for an autistic son and a Father with alzeihmers - and was refused DLA on first application - which he completed on his own. However when he took the forms to the CAB and completed them with their help and advice, his claim was accepted. Apparantly they know “the speak”!!!

I have just been told by an advisor at DWP that as I was officially diagnosed on 26th September, my claim can only be considered on 26th December after the 3 month qualifying period and have to prove that my condition will be ongoing for at least 6 months.


You do not need to be diagnosed to claim DLA. You do need to have had mobility problems and/or care needs for at least 3 months and expect these to continue.

When you ring up for the form they give you 6 weeks (I think) to complete the forms that they will send to you. And if you qualify for the benefit they back date it to the date of the phonecall. It’s worth making the phonecall sooner rather than later.

Hope that helps,

Sarah x

Hi again,

I’ve just read MrsH’s last post. I applied for my DLA at the beginning of September last year which was pre-diagnosis. With the introduction of PIP I find it unlikely that they will have messed with the eligability criteria within the last year but anything’s possible!

Sarah x

Am confused.com!!! And wondering if I should just get on and do it?? They can only refuse to consider it surely?? I have been off sick for 12 weeks, on full pay, so have 12 weeks left before dropping to half pay. So is it even worth applying - I cannot begin to consider that I won’t be back at work by then because my heart is screaming that it has to get better soon. Pleeeeeeez!!!

Well, I’ve been out of work since June last year. I have been living on savings which are very diminished. I have tried www.Turn2Us.com to do a benefits check to see what benefits you are entitled to and I’m entitled to thin air as I have worked too hard for the last fifteen years and have had the termerity to save. I think the only way to get DLA is to go to the CAB offce and let them help you.

We have no savings thanks to a huge mortgage but my husband has a good job - does that make a difference coz I thought DLA wasn’t means tested?

DLA is not means tested and you can claim it whilst working. When I applied I used the the help of http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/ and was awarded HRM and MRC indefinately without having to go for a medical!

When your statutory sick pay finishes and you go onto Half Pay you can apply for ESA. Unfortunately there’s another long form to complete! Again, using the advice from Benefits and Works I was placed in the Support Group without a medical. You can claim this even when receiving half pay (I double checked as I couldn’t believe it!). It gets redcued if/when you receive a pension. My medical retirement from teaching came through in May and I still get £15 a week ESA (DLA doesn’t change)

ESA can be contribution based so your husband’s earnings wouldn’t be counted if claiming on this basis.

Sarah x

Thanks Sarah. Everything is so new and confusing for me - I still can’t believe that I even have MS and keep expecting to wake up - every morning is traumatic when I realise that I still have it and it hasn’t gone away. Am terrified about what the future holds, especially financially. I am only 41 so no prospect of retiring!!! To be honest the way I feel at the moment I don’t know how I’m going to be able to get back to work but I really hope that at some point in the not so distant future, that will change. Everything is such an effort…

PS as a newbie I don’t even know what HRM and MRC is??!!

12 things that don’t affect your right to claim Disability Living Allowance.1. You’re getting any other benefits - Disability Living Allowance will be paid on top.

  1. You’re working.
  2. Your partner works.
  3. You have savings.
  4. You have not paid any national insurance contributions.
  5. You don’t consider yourself to be disabled - Disability Living Allowance is for people with long term health problems which affect their everyday activities.
  6. You’ve been told by a doctor, nurse, care worker - or anyone other than a welfare rights worker - that you won’t get Disability Living Allowance. Eligibility for Disability Living Allowance is a legal question, not a matter of medical - or any other - opinion.
  7. You live alone and no-one is providing care for you.
  8. You already have someone, a partner for example, providing care for you.
  9. You don’t want anyone to provide care for you.
  10. You’ve been turned down before. You may decide you could put forward a stronger case if you applied again.
  11. You do not want to spend money on personal care: you can spend Disability Living Allowance on anything you wish.


HRM is higher rate mobility. There’s 2 rates; higher and lower. It’s the higher rate which gives you access to a motability car. You can exchange this weekly allowance for a car if you wish.

MRC is middle rate care. There’s 3 rates for this; high, middle and low.

I’m 46 and the idea of retirement was not one I wanted to consider but it became the only option as fatigue was a major issue.

Just a thought - check to see if you have critical illness cover on your mortgage. MS is usually covered and could pay off your mortgage! We didn’t have it unfortunately!!

Sarah x

Hi sarah Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately we didn’t take out critical illness cover so I face the very stark choice of getting back to work soonish and trying to ignore the ms and making myself worse or not being able to pay the mortgage. I have lain awake fo nights trying to figure out an alternative. Catherine x

HI Mrs H,

Not sure if it helps or not, but we have just had to change our 5 year plan to a 6 months plan and put our house on the market. I received an offer the same day I had confirmation of ‘possible MS’ from my consultant. The valuer has just been, we feel we have no choice but to reduce our outgoings, just to be on the safe side. I am not sure of your age, but you may be able to look at extending your term on your mortgage to get monthly payment down or even make it interest only payments(some companies will do this and some don,t) this may give you a breathing space to give you time to think what your next steps are going to be.