How am I meant to find work?


Basically my child is starting primaray school in September and as i have been a homemaker since he was born, I really need to find work. My husband works full time 35 hours a week. We have to privately rent, and because of the area we are in (Greater London and family who help me a lot when i’m really incapable) out rent is a ludicrous £1175 pcm for a small two up two down. Plus there is council tax in excess of 180 pcm and all other bills and debts…I’m sure you all know. We get a top up of housing benefit for less than half, but it’s capped and due to hubbys salary (under 20k) can’t get anymore. I don’t get any other benefits, DLA ,IB, JSA etc. nurse said i was unlikley to be awarded it.

Anyway our landlady wants to put the rent up to 1225pcm, so if this is to happen i’m going to need a job, or move. I have looked but literally can not find anywhere within walking distance of my childs school (don’t drive) for less than 1600pcm, except flats on the top floor, which would be inaccessible for me.

I can barely function half the week, fatigue, cog fog, poor memory & concentration, tremors and can only walk for about just under a mile before i’m in too much pain to continue. The local transport services are poor at best, the job i used to do is mainly in central London, but no way could i commute in again every day. Also the job would have to pay a fair amount to cover the shortfall or no benefot would leave us in. I feel like people judge me and I feel completley useless. I just don’t know how to start looking or thinking about work in this state, anyone got any ideas?

I wish I could support my family, doing what I know, but MS has taken that from me. Many thanks - sorry if this is a bit of a ramble.

You’re nurse should’nt have told you you wouldn’t be able to get any benefits. You should at the very lease be able to get ESA (the replacement to IB), you may have to appeal as most people do but I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t get it. Depending on what level of ESA you were awarded, most likely the Work Support Group, your adviser should be able to put you in contact with groups who can help you get back into work if that is your goal. You could also try running a home business if you felt like that is something you were interested in.

The only way I can see you getting a house that fits your needs is a council house and I have a feeling that’s a big no.

How would the poster get ESA? Presumably wouldn’t be able to get contribution-based, due to no NI contributions in the past several years, and would not get income-based, due to partner’s earnings.

I’m sure this is not a welcome answer, but I do think it reflects the practical likelihood of getting anything (ESA in particular).


Yes Tina I think your right, I haven’t earned for 5 years now. I really don’t understand the system. I would take any job, but i would have to make them aware i’m not well, although i have rrms, i never seem to function well in remission. Who is going to employ me? I would have no shame in accepting a council house (if that’s what you were implying?) However I’m not on the list and am unlikely to jump to the top, when everybody is struggling to stay afloat. I’m at such a loss with it all, feel I’m letting my family down.

Hi, from what you say, I do think it is worth applying for PIP…the old DLA.

This may help with transport and perhaps some personal care. I know the criteria is different from when I claimed DLA, but you can look on line to see if you think you may qualify. Dont just take your nurse`s word for it.

luv Pollx

I can only sympathize, but don’t know what the answer is.

I’m in a similar position, having been made redundant last summer, after 23 years continuous service. I could get JSA if I were actively looking for work, but I’m not, as I don’t drive, and have simply no idea what I could realistically do.

I was fortunate that my last job allowed me to work almost entirely from home. This was initially a coincidence, and nothing to do with my health, but obviously, as health deteriorated, it became more and more of a godsend that I didn’t have a daily commute. I only had to be able to stumble downstairs and put the kettle on (not even necessarily get dressed!) to be able to work.

There is now no direct bus into town. Nearest stop where there is, is a 15 minute walk away, and although I can regularly walk much further, I couldn’t commit to doing this EVERY day, in all weathers, and then wait at the bus-stop (without a seat) too.

The train, meanwhile, is only one an hour. The 08:40 would arrive in town just too late for any 9 o’clock start, so I’d have to take the 07:40. As it takes me nearly two hours to get out of the house in the mornings (time for a soak in the bath, and all the pills and coffee to work), this would mean getting up some time around 5:30. Although I might be able to manage that as a one-off, for a special occasion, I can’t see how I’d cope with it day in, day out, and all through the Winter months (and then there’s the problem that I’m too scared to go out if it’s icy…)

So I’ve not even bothered looking.

Fortunately (or not) I don’t have a family depending on me, so only myself to worry about, and I did get a decent payoff from work, and a critical illness payout the year before that. So my situation is not as pressing as yours. Nevertheless, even if I’m not desperate for the money yet, the years stretching ahead with no income and nothing to do are not an appealing prospect. But neither is a daily commute on (very limited) public transport. If I’m really honest, I was struggling with that years ago, before I began working from home, and well before I ever suspected I was ill. I was already getting really tired, with no clue why. So I hardly think I can go back to that, with now another ten years’ illness progression. Yet I’m certain I’m not sick enough to get PIP or ESA. Just too sick for a 40-hour job with daily commute.

Sorry for the rant! I think the not driving is one of my biggest issues - and yours too. I was always too nervous to learn, but if I’d thought I might get ill, I would have forced myself. I think I’d have a lot more options if I could get from A to B without a problem.




How would the poster get ESA? Presumably wouldn’t be able to get contribution-based, due to no NI contributions in the past several years, and would not get income-based, due to partner’s earnings.

I’m sure this is not a welcome answer, but I do think it reflects the practical likelihood of getting anything (ESA in particular).


[/quote] You might be able to get ESA through contribution-based as you get free contributions if you are at home looking after children. Sorry i don’t know the details but its definately worth looking into. Make an appointment with the CAB and they will help you find out if you are entitled to anything. Teresa.x

No need to apoligise for a good rant!

The driving issue is a big problem. I didn’t learn when i was younger and now given it’ s nigh on £30 a lesson, isn’t finacially viable.

I just keep beliveing things will sort themselves out, or come good in the end, I guess blind hope is better than none at all.

Oh that’s interesting, thanks for that Teresa i will do.

Tina has given you a good reply. Many of us find ourselves in a position where we don’t feel we could manage a job day-in day-out, but do not qualify for any benefits because we are not ‘badly affected’ yet. I was diagnosed after my second child and so was not working at the time. I have not worked since and my youngest is nearly 9. Some days i would manage to work and others i wouldn’t. I am lucky as after my diagnosis my husband decided to go self employed so he could be more flexable to help me with the kids when i needed him. I do all the admin side of the business from home and he goes to work. I feel incredibly guilty about this but what could i do anyway? who would employ me with ms when so many healthy people are looking for work? I am lucky though as my critical illness paid up like Tina’s so we don’t have rent/mortgage to worry about. Sorry for this jumble but my return key wont work on this site. You have nothing to lose by going to CAB for advise. Best wishes. Teresa.x

Failing that speak to your GP, mine was incredibly helpful and pointed me in the right direction.


Unfortuately, I don’t think the NI credits given for staying at home being a home-maker/carer etc will count towards contribution based ESA. I’m pretty sure they are only used to protect your state pension. Unless things have changed in recent years, but this was how it used to be.

Dawn x

Thanks Dawn. Yes i think you are right. I have confused the two. Tina - sorry i was not questioning you - it was just something that popped into my head. Teresa.x

No probs, I too wondered about the childcare credits, but I think, as has been said, they build up state pension entitlement, but don’t provide any of the standard income-replacement benefits (or Universal Credit, as it will become).

I looked into whether it was still worth my while to pay NI contributions, even while I’m not working (which you are allowed to do), but they too would contribute only to my pension, not buy me any benefits if I did eventually get too sick to work (in their opinion).

As my penion age is ever-receding, and I think I’m actually more likely to die before I collect it, I think it’s probably not worth spending money I can ill-afford to top up a benefit I may never receive. As it stands, I would get some state pension, but short of the full amount (29 years’ payments, instead of 30 - which is moving to 35). I’d do better to put an equivalent sum into my private pension, which can at least be drawn at 55 - which I’m more hopeful of reaching.



It’s so difficult Tina to know what to do for the best with pensions. I was self employed myself for 8 years before i had the children. I paid self-employed contributions at the time but then sold my business and then after i had my children i was dx with ms. I will get the childcare credits for a while but what then? I am not working so won’t be able to pay into my state pension unless my hubby pays and i feel he is supporting me enough already. I started a private pension when i was self employed but when i stopped working to be a stay at home mum i had to freeze it. It is a private pension you cant pay into unless you are working so will be worth next to nothing. Even though my ms is relatively mild - i am just about managing the demands of 2 children/housework/hubby’s admin ect and don’t think i would manage a job as well. I know i would not get enough points for PIP so have to rely on hubby supporting me which i hate as i am quite an independant person. I have thought about working from home but those jobs are far and few between at the moment. It’s so difficult to know what to do for the best. I don’t know who would employ me anyway now as i have not worked for a while with having the kids and then ms on top! Teresa.x

Random thought - could you do childminding from home? Maybe you have already ruled it out. X

also go and speak to ypur local Citizen advice bureau, reading what you have said you have been given advice from someone that doesnt understand what you are going through, so either CAB or someone who understands MS, is there a local MS charity in your area?