After being diagnosed with MND some people are forced into retirement as the disease no longer allows them to continue to work. However some people can continue to work and want to continue working. One of the most worrying things when diagnosed is thinking about how we will cope financially. There are sources of help when you are either looking for help to continue working or wanting to find out about what benefits are available.
HELP IN THE WORKPLACE
Employers must make reasonable adjustments to make sure that workers with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions are not significantly disadvantaged when doing their jobs. This applies to all workers and includes apprentices, trainees, contract workers and business partners. Some examples of reasonable adjustments are making physical changes to the workplace such as installing a ramp for a wheelchair user or installing an audio-visual fire alarm for a deaf person. Other examples are changing equipment such as providing a special keyboard for anyone with problems with their hands and allowing employees who become disabled to have a phased returned to work including flexible hours or part time working. You can get advice on reasonable adjustments from the Disability Employment adviser at your local Jobcentre Plus office.
ACCESS TO WORK
You can apply for access to work if you need extra help. Access to work is devised to help you get work or stay in work if you have a physical or mental health condition or disability. The support you get will depend on your individual needs. Through access to work you can, for example, apply for financial grants to pay for practical support with your work, get money to pay for communication support at job interviews and receive support managing your mental health at work. Examples of grants that you can get are to help with things like adaptation to your vehicle so that you can get to work, taxi fares or a support worker if you cannot use public transport or BSL interpreters lip readers. Your workplace includes your home if you work from there some or all the time. Earnings are not considered and if you get access to work grants it won’t affect any other benefits you get and you will not have to pay it back. You or your employer may need to pay upfront for some things and claim them back later.
To access this type of support you need to have a physical or mental health condition or disability that means you need to support either to do your job or to get to and from work. You need to be 16 or over and be in paid work or need be about to start or return to paid work within the next 12 weeks and you need to live and work in England Scotland or Wales. There is a different system in Northern Ireland. There are different eligibility criteria if you need communication support for a job interview. This applies to people with disabilities, illnesses or health conditions that mean you need to support you to do your job please see the link below for examples. You need to have a paid job or to be about to start a return to one, it can be full time or part time please see the link below for some things are included. You cannot get access to work for voluntary work. You can get access to work alongside benefits if you work for more than one hour per week. You can get assets to work and ESA at the same time if you work less than 16 hours a week. There are rules about working whilst claiming ESA and you can ask your work coach for advice and support. If you’re not sure that you’re eligible you can call the Access to Work helpline.
Telephone number 0800 121 7479
The MND association offers some good advice and benefits that you can apply for, including Universal Credit and disability benefits, such as Personal Independence Payments (PIP) Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance.
MND Benefits Advice
Telephone number 0808 801 0620
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly – or twice a month for some people in Scotland. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.
To get PIP you must find it hard to do everyday tasks or get around because of a physical or mental condition. You must have found these things hard for 3 months and expect them to continue to be hard for another 9 months. With terminal illnesses such as MND there are different rules and processes. you’re already getting PIP, it will continue when you reach State Pension age.
Attendance Allowance is available if you are state pension age. It is used for help with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you.
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are giving regular and substantial care to disabled people. Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit and forms part of your taxable income.