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Returning to work advice needed

I was diagnosed with MS in 1989 and have gone through various stages over the years, I have the back spasms, vertigo, tiredness amongst many others but have been attending a homeopathic doctor for over a year now, she prescribed me cannabis tablets after I told her I had tried smoking some at a party which had led me to be pain free for just over two days. I have noe been taking them for a couple of months and whilst all the other symptoms have remained, the pain has subsided to the point where I am able to get about on my own two feet rather than a wheelchair. I realise I might just be having some sort of remission but I have never felt this well in years. A friend who has been caring for me during the worst of my illness managed to get me a trial period working 2-3 hours a day. I have been on trial since late August and although exceptionally tired later on I am realy enjoying it, my problem is that I have been in receipt of DLA and SDA for years and I have had a carer. Can anyone advise me of the best way forward with these as my fear is that this is simply a remission (something I have not experienced throughout) and that I will lose my benifits only to find out at a later date that I relapse.

I still need my carer in the evening and at nights and not sure if the simple enjoyment of feeling useful again is what is keeping me going or whether its simply the reduction in pain and don’t know where to go from here as its been so long since I was able to do anything.

Any advice would be welcomed

Take work out of the equation and at some point soon you will be migrated from SDA to ESA. My comments therefore refer to ESA.

Permitted work allows you to work and still get full ESA.

There are different types of permitted work:

  • work done as part of a hospital treatment programme carried out under medical supervision for earnings which do not exceed *£99.50 a week for an unlimited period;
  • ‘permitted work lower limit’ - this is any work undertaken for no more than £20 a week for an unlimited period;
  • ‘supported permitted work’ for earnings which do not exceed *£99.50 a week for an indefinite period - supported work means work that is supervised by someone employed by a public or local authority or voluntary organisation whose job it is to arrange work for people with disabilities
  • ‘permitted work higher limit’ - this is work of less than 16 hours a week, with earnings which do not exceed *£99.50 per week for up to a maximum of 52 weeks. Subsequent periods of work are allowed but there must usually be a gap of at least 52 weeks between periods of working. However, if you are in the support group for ESA you can do this work for an indefinite period

If you do work outside these parameters then you would loose benefit and have to reclaim if you relapsed. If you work for 16 hours or more you can apply for working tax credits to top up your earnings.

It sounds as though you are working less than 16 hrs per week – OK for a year in the work related activity group of ESA but it may be that you would get in the support group in which case its indefinite.

As I said all this refers to ESA I don’t know what the rules are for SDA but you must tell DWP about your work – it is a change of circumstances and you don’t want to get in a fuddle with them.

Jane