Other financial help
As well as disability benefits that you might be able to claim, there are various funds and concessions that might make living with MS easier.
As with benefits, some other sources of financial help may be means-tested. This means you're more likely to qualify for this help if you're on a low income.
But even if you're not on a low income, there may be some help available to everyone with a disability.
Remember to also read about about MS Society grants towards items you may need as a result of your MS.
Find out more
Find out more
In England free off-peak travel on all local buses is available to disabled people who qualify. Similar schemes operate in Wales. Application forms are available from local councils.
For information on cheaper travel in Scotland visit transport.gov.scot. You'll learn about the National Entitlement Card scheme that can let you travel for free. When you apply for this card, your neurologist can write the supporting letter you’ll need. Or an MS nurse can now do this too.
In Northern Ireland if you're disabled you can get half-fare bus and train travel with a Smartpass. Applications are available from Translink.
A Disabled Person’s Railcard gets you to a third off most UK train journeys. National Rail can give you more details.
Disabled Facilities Grant
A Disabled Facilities Grant is a means-tested grant from your council to help towards the cost of adapting your home so that you can keep on living there. You might qualify for this grant if the council agrees that changes are necessary to meet your needs, and that the work is reasonable and practical. These grants are available from councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own system offering information, advice and financial support. It’s called the scheme of assistance and is run by local councils. Find out more citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland
Find out more about grants for home adaptations in our booklet Adaptations and your home.
Help with keeping warm in winter
During a cold winter, the costs of heating can quickly add up. If you get certain benefits, you may qualify for Cold Weather Payments. You might get these if the temperature falls below freezing over seven days in a row. These payments are different from Winter Fuel Payments which pensioners get.
For information on energy efficiency schemes to help with insulation, room heating and water heating, contact the Energy Saving Trust. In some parts of the UK there are government schemes to improve heating and energy efficiency:
- in Scotland there's the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme
- the Welsh Government runs the Warm Homes Nest scheme
- in Northern Ireland there's the Affordable Warmth grant scheme
If you're worried about fuel bills this winter and you're trying to save energy to cut costs, look into the Warm Home Discount Scheme. It offers grants of £140 towards fuel costs. If you're affected by MS, you can either contact your energy provider, or go to the government website and follow the instructions.
Check out this useful Gov.uk energy grants calculator to find out what support you might be eligible for.
Prescriptions are free in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
If you live in England, you may save money by buying a prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC) if you have to pay for more than four items in three months, or 14 items in 12 months.
You might also qualify for free prescriptions if you can't leave home without help, if you get certain benefits, have a low income or have certain conditions (such as epilepsy). You'll need an FP29A form from your doctor, hospital or pharmacist.
Find out more on the NHS Choices website.
Dealing with debt
For some people, however much they budget, the change in their circumstances is so great that they can't carry on paying for rent, mortgage, utility bills and so on.
If you're in serious debt, it's essential to get advice. If you live in England and Wales, GOV.UK's debt pages are very useful, including advice on what debts must be prioritised. If you live in Scotland visit Mygov.scot for information and advice.
The National Debtline provides advice for those in debt.
Independent financial advice
For further professional advice, you can look for an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Their services are often free, or they take a percentage of payment from a product provider (such as a building society which sells you a mortgage).
Your bank or building society may have a financial adviser attached to it, though they may be committed to selling you a product from their own range.