Has anyone gone against medical advice and got a job?

Hi, hope everyone is as well as possible. I just want to know if any of you have been told you can’t work by your consultant, but got a job anyway? I am really thinking about doing this. Am just so fed up of not having a normal life and routine. Fed up of being judged for being on benefits, and being made to feel worthless. I am 27, and have never had a job. I don’t feel like a proper adult! Just so disheartend, and depressed. Is it even possible to get a job when you have been told you can’t work? What do you all think?

Sorry for moaning, thanks, love Bex xxx

I find it odd that anyone would tell you that you couldn’t work. If you want to work, feel well enough and are able to work then start looking. Voluntary or part time work might be a good starting point.

Good luck and best wishes.

Jan x

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My consultant said I am not well enough to work. Some days I feel well enough, and some days I don’t. I also have Crohn’s, so spend a long time in the loo lol. I volunteer 2 days a week, at a national trust house. xxx

Well, I guess you would need a very understanding employer, but how has it gone with the volunteering?

Have you had to skip many sessions? Any?

If you are managing two days a week volunteering without having to let them down, I don’t see why you couldn’t be doing two days a week for money (instead of, not as well as). I’m not saying you ought to - some MSers would undoubtedly feel more comfortable without the obligations that go with a contract, and also that the volunteering is more worthwhile and enjoyable.

I guess it all depends how much you want or need the money.

I don’t see how your consultant can forbid you from working - especially when you already are - just no paypacket to show for it!



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I was told by my neuro that I’d never work as an engineer again, but he couldn’t put it in writing that I’d never work at all. In hindsight, I was working in quite a stressful environment, so it did make sense.

I think that what you’d have to consider is how the type of work you’re considering would affect your symptoms, and any possible knock on effects with any benefits that you may be claiming. To take on too much and not be able to keep it up could be very disheartening.

If you’re volunteering, and you’re able to keep up with it consistently, you could try a ‘slowly, slowly’ approach and maybe up the hours a bit?

There are times when I feel like I’m going ‘stir crazy’ and wish I could do something ‘useful’, and I’m sure that I’ll get there one day, but please don’t let the media make you feel worthless. You’re putting something back into society by volunteering, and I think it’s great!

Mags :slight_smile: x

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Thanks people. I have not missed a full day, but there have been days where I have had to go home early cos I felt ill. At least with volunteer work there isn’t the pressure of having to be there no matter what. Just hate the fact that it’s closed in January and february and that people are judging me for being on benefits. Also, I did some sums to see how it would work out if I got a paid job working the same hours as I volunteer, as I know I couldn’t manage anymore. I wouldn’t earn nearly enough to live on, so I guess it’s back to the drawing board xxx

Depending on what benefits you’re on, it may be worth looking at disabled tax credits, and ‘permitted work’ (for ESA claimants). Hope these help:-

Mags :slight_smile: xx

I’m sure people are judging me for being on benefits, too, but the irony is, I’m not! Neither poor enough, nor ill enough, as things stand (I expect time will change one or both of those), yet people assume I’m raking it in, and getting freebies right, left and centre too.

Bumped into my neighbour last week, after doing my huge two hours a week at college, and she had the cheek to say: “Oh, I suppose you get that free, do you?”


“Oh, concessions, then?”

“No. I pay full price.”

So, to be honest, you’re judged even if you’re NOT receiving anything.

In a way, I quite look forward to being “grassed up” as a benefits cheat, because then they’ll find out I wasn’t on any. But of course, I’d never have the satisfaction of knowing, because the DWP obviously wouldn’t take it further, once they realised I wasn’t on their books. I just wonder if they break it to the snitch: “That person isn’t on any benefits!”? I expect they just say: “Thanks, we’ll look into it”, and if they find out it’s a false alarm, neither reporter nor suspect ever hears anything again.





If you can work without putting yourself or anyone else at risk, why not? I like the idea of voluntary which may reduce the potential pressure. You need to balance the effort, risk against the benefits which can be psychological as well as physical.

Your consultant can express an opinion and might explain why they think you should not work, but they might not be correct.

I am not saying you should ignore the advice but I do think it needs to be carefully explored.

Good luck


It sounds to me as though your consultant, by stating clearly that he/she believed you to be too unwell to hold down a job, was giving you ‘permission’ to not feel guilty about being as unwell as you are. You didn’t choose to have rotten health. And if there are ignorant and ungenerous people around you who think they know better than your consultant, then sod 'em, quite frankly.


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Hi, its typical case of damned if you do and damned if you dont`.


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Hi, Thanks for all the advice. xxx

Hi Bex,

Wondering if you might find it more difficult to show eligibility for benefits should it come up for reassessment and work that you have done is interpreted as evidence that you dont/dont need to qualify (I do not actually know how the system works). Could it open up a can of worms? Could you then end up in a stressful appeals process?


I don’t know. I was only thinking about working. Or rather, wishing I could! Hate not working and being judged for it xxx

I think other people’s opinions are the least of your worries.

If you genuinely want to work because you miss it is one thing. If you believe it would make you happier, then go for it!

But if you would only be doing it to conform to other people’s expectations, when your consultant has said clearly he doesn’t think it would be good for you, then forget it.

It’s about what you really want - not what anybody else thinks you should be doing.

If you like the volunteering, and that’s working out OK for you, why not stick with that?

I’m thinking that if you got a job - even a part-time one - the volunteering would have to go, because you wouldn’t manage both.

So would you be OK with quitting the volunteering, and not feel regret?

You’ve said a drawback to the volunteering is it’s not all year round, leaving you at a loose end for January and February. But that’s just two months, and February’s a short month. Can you really not cope without a regular activity for just two months of the year? I would say they’re usually the two most horrid months to have to turn out, so I think a volunteer post that lets you work ten months a year, but skip the two worst, is ideal. I’d like a job (paid or voluntary) where I knew I wouldn’t have to do January and February, because they’re usually the worst for ice and snow, and I get scared to leave the house when it’s slippery. So I’d find it very convenient not to be required then.

Are there ever any opportunities for paid work where you volunteer already? Occasionally, volunteering can be a stepping stone into paid work, because they already know you’re reliable, and whether your MS is likely to be a problem (probably not, it seems). They might well prefer an insider to having to recruit someone off the street, because they already know what you’re like, and you already know a lot about the work - so not as much training or settling in.




Gosh, it’s so complicated. I mostly want a job to shut some people up, because I am fed up of nasty comments and being judged. Some people are saying I am lazy and I find this hurtful cos I am not. I have been volunteering at Lanhydrock (national trust house) 2 days a week for 11 years now, so how can they say I am lazy? Also, the reason I want a job is cos I am 27 and I have never had a job, cos I got diagnosed with MS when I was at uni. I just want to feel like a proper adult, cos at the moment I don’t. Hope that makes sense. I also would love to spend my money and not feel guilty cos I haven’t earned it.

I do really love my volunteering and wouldn’t want to give it up, but I would also really like a job. The only paid postions at the moment are internal applicants only, which means you have to be employed by the national trust already, which volunteers are not. Also I don’t think I have the right qualifications anyway. I find the winter really hard as I have no routine and no reason to get up early, which means I stay in bed for half the day feeling depressed, it means I don’t see anyone for weeks at a time and I hate being on my own lol. Also I feel worthless and useless during the winter months. It is like I am being tortured lol. This year has been a bit better though, as the house is open december for the first time. Normally it closes at the end of october and doesn’t reopen until march xxx

May I suggest that perhaps you are being a little too free with how much you share with people?

How do they know you are “on benefits”, and not in paid work, unless it came from you? You are gone from home at least two days a week, for most of the year. How on earth do they know what the deal is with that, and that you’re not being paid for it?

I don’t see how they can know you’re not a part-time worker. Indeed, you ARE a part-time worker. Whether you’re getting paid is none of their business. How can they call you “lazy”? They demand money to go to work - you’re doing it without the money!

Wonder if they’d still do their jobs two days a week, if the wages stopped coming? We all know the answer, don’t we?

Lanhydrock must be an amazing place to volunteer. I’d love to do something heritage-related, but I don’t drive, and the only NT or English Heritage opportunities round here are well out in the sticks - useless for anyone without own transport.

I would carry on as you are, and keep quiet about your circumstances. If people are calling you “lazy”, they’re obviously not your friends, so how have they got included in the circle who know whether you’re earning or not?

You leave the house, you go and do something, you come home. How would the casual observer know that isn’t “employment”? And anyway, in the sense of being useful, it is!

Don’t tell them!




Perhaps another question here might be:

Is anyone on here an employer who would knowingly employ a person who has been given medical advice not to take up paid work?

Personally, if I were a prospective employer, my answer would be no, I would not. Not because of any bias against the disabled, but because my HR advisor would probably tell me I could not employ such a person.

Otherwise, I think Tina has the most appropriate advice. Keep your paid or unpaid status to yourself. Make the most out of your voluntary work as you clearly do, and revel in that fact that unlike a great many paid employees, you enjoy your work.


My only observation on that is that you’re not obliged to tell a prospective employer you even have MS, let alone that you have received medical advice not to work!

Personally, I’m in favour of telling the employer about the MS, as if you opt not to, you cannot receive the full protection of the law. The employer is not obliged to accommodate something they could not know about, because the employee never said.

But, just like telling mere acquaintances about your personal financial arrangements, it’s a judgement call about how much self disclosure is appropriate. If I were serious about looking for a new job, I’d never, ever let on that I’d received medical advice not to (not that I have, but if I had).

I think this takes me right back to the earliest posts in this thread. Why would a consultant tell anyone he or she can’t or mustn’t work, if the desire is there? It does seem unusual that they would try to be so prescriptive in someone’s life, as to tell them what they can and can’t do. Especially with a condition like MS, where there are very few things that are provably always detrimental, and so much depends on the person’s own choices, priorities and commonsense.

I do wonder about the context of this “advice”, and whether it was with a view to supporting a benefits application. If the patient shows a desire and a determination to work, would they ever be told they mustn’t? For certain types of work, possibly, yes, if it’s intensely physical, or they would be climbing pylons or something. In certain fields, there are clear dangers with trying to ignore you have MS! But a blanket ban on ALL work, including sitting in an office? It seems unlikely, especially when the patient has an established track record of voluntary work. How could they be OK for one, but not the other?

If the official medical view is that it would be “dangerous” to work, then surely, that should apply to unpaid work as well?

I only know of one person who’s ever been told in no uncertain terms they mustn’t work, and that was a former boss who was found to be at imminent risk of a heart attack, and told he MUST stop immediately. He returned to the office only to explain what had happened, and to say: “Everything you need is on my desk - Good luck!” There was no handover, no nothing.

He went straight home, and they initiated ill health retirement. I don’t think MS is at all like that - you’re not “dicing with death” if you make the choice to try to work. It might work out OK, it might not, but a long history of successful volunteer activities is as good a guide as any.


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I don’t know why my consultant told me I couldn’t work, only that he wouldn’t support me in finding work, as he didn’t think I would cope. Also, I have fibromyelgia, lupus and Crohn’s disease as well as MS. I am also visually impaired.

I guess you are right Tina, I will just keep on with my volunteer work. The reason some people know is that someone who I used to be friends with, turned against me for no reason and started telling other people that I don’t work, and I have had to deal with nasty comments ever since. I try and ignore the, but it is still hurtful. xxx