COVID-19: MS society calls for urgent changes to benefits

Please note: The current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.


As part of the DBC (Disability Benefits Consortium) the UK`s MS Society is pressing the government to take urgent action to make sure disabled and unwell people aren’t left without the money they need during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is a network of over 100 organisations with an interest in disability and social security. For our full list of members, see

Using the network’s combined knowledge, experience and direct contact with millions of disabled individuals, people with long-term health conditions and carers, it seeks to ensure that government policy reflects and meets the needs of all disabled people.

The DBC welcomes the recently announced measures designed to protect the incomes of large numbers of people whose livelihoods have been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. However, it believes that these support measures need to go further.

Key priority areas

In a letter to the secretary of state for work and pensions, Thérèse Coffey, the DBC identified three key areas in need of priority action. It pointed out that:

  • there is a danger that disabled and seriously unwell people – who may be most at risk of being badly impacted by the current crisis – could be left to fall through the gaps in the emergency changes being made to the benefits system.
  • disabled and unwell people who are receiving Employment and Support Allowance urgently need more money to survive and must not to be left behind by the extra financial support being offered to others.
  • urgent steps are needed to help protect disabled people in work and parents of disabled children from the economic shock of the Covid-19 emergency.

You can read the full letter to Thérèse Coffey on the DBC website.

Now reassurance is needed

Anastasia Berry, MS Society policy manager, and DBC policy co-chair.

The society’s policy manager, Anastasia Berry, who is also policy co-chair of the DBC, said: “While we understand this is a time of crisis, we urge the government not to lose sight of the 130,000 people living with MS in the UK. Now more than ever, people with this condition desperately need financial support and reassurance for the future.

“MS is relentless, painful and disabling, and the current crisis is making life even harder for many. The steps recommended by the DBC today will be essential to help ease people’s growing anxiety in this uncertain time.”

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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre                              not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)                  Colour                              not color                                                                                                                      Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                                                                  Haematology                not hematology                                                                                Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.


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