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MS, carers and care at home during coronavirus restrictions

If you're caring for someone with MS, this page can help you find support for living with the COVID-19, including how social care services might be able to help you.

We updated this page on Monday 4 April 2022 to reflect recent changes in guidance, financial support and where to find out more.

What's the latest government COVID-19 guidance for unpaid carers?

If you help look after someone with MS, the latest COVID-19 government guidance depends on where you live. Some of the national governments have specific COVID guidance for unpaid carers. But in other parts of the UK, the guidance is the same as for everyone else.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there’s guidance for social care staff, and for the general public, including people considered clinically extremely vulnerable or with weakened immune systems.

Read the government COVID-19 guidance for the public in England Read the government COVID-19 guidance for the public in Wales Read the Executive’s COVID-19 guidance for the public in Northern Ireland
In Scotland, there is government guidance for unpaid carers. 

Read the government COVID-19 guidance for unpaid carers in Scotland

You can also find information and support where you live on the Carers UK website

Do social care staff have COVID-19 guidance?

There is government guidance for staff in care homes, and those who provide care at your own home. This includes steps they should take to avoid the spread of the virus, COVID-19 testing, and how to use face coverings and other protective equipment. 

This guidance is written for care workers and their employers. But you might find it helpful so you know what to expect from carers who come to your home. 

Read government COVID guidance for care staff in England Read government COVID guidance for care staff and unpaid carers in ScotlandRead government COVID guidance for care staff in Wales Read government COVID guidance for care staff in Northern Ireland

Practical support with shopping and prescriptions

Even with restrictions easing, there might still be still support available for getting food and prescriptions. 

Find out more about Getting help with shopping and prescriptions during and after lockdown

Am I entitled to any financial support?

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance is the main benefit for carers. And if you look after someone for 35 hours a week or more, you might be eligible.

There were changes to the rules because of COVID-19, but those have now ended. 

Find out if you qualify for Carers’ Allowance on the UK government's website

If you’re in Scotland, find out more about financial support and other help for carers

It’s worth checking you and the person with MS are getting what you’re entitled to.

Read more about finances and benefits during coronavirus lockdown

Statutory Sick Pay and furlough

The Job Retention Scheme (furlough) ended in September 2021. But you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). SSP is available under the usual rules, including if you're sick with COVID-19. 

SSP is arranged through your employer. Talk to them first about occupational sick pay, as that's more generous. But if you’re not eligible for that, you can apply for SSP. 

Read more about Statutory Sick Pay on the UK government website

Other financial support 

You might also be able to access other COVID-19 financial support in your nation.

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme in England has closed. But if you were told to self-isolate before 24 February 2022 you can claim within 42 days of the first day of self-isolation (up to 6 April).

Read more about financial support in Scotland (select “Work and financial support”) Read more about financial support in Wales Read more about financial support in Northern Ireland

Remember you're not alone

We're here for you. If you’re worried about your MS and coronavirus and want to chat to someone, call our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000. We’re here Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm except bank holidays.

If you'd like to talk your worries through online with other people who know MS, visit our Online Community Forum today.

You can join one of our Time to Chat or Virtual Wellbeing sessions and connect online with other people living with MS across the UK. Or you could sign up for an information webinar. We've got plenty to choose from, take a look at our online sessions and see what suits you.

Help prevent outdated information sharing

We're constantly updating our information on coronavirus. So if you want to share it, please link to the page directly rather than quoting or summarising what we’ve said.

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We also update when we know about important changes.

Find out how we keep our information up-to-date