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Disability Rights Handbook out now

Posted on: March 14 2018

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Ryan Jones

Hi everyone,

We just wanted to let you know about this important source of information that our MS-UK Helpline team regularly uses to support the multiple sclerosis (MS) community.

The Disability Rights Handbook is a guide to benefits and services for anyone with a disability, their families, carers and advisers. It contains a wealth of information relating to the benefits system, as well as social care services and help for carers.  This guide will be relevant to many people living with MS.

Clients who use the MS-UK Helpline have let us know how valuable the information provided by our advisors is and, since a lot of that information can be found in the Disability Rights Handbook, we wanted to share it with you. If you would like to buy your own copy, you can do so on the Disability Rights UK website store.

We wanted to let you know this was available to pre-order as last year’s handbook sold out in quite quickly!

As always, though, our MS advisors are available to listen to you, talk things through with you and keep giving you as much helpful information and support as possible.

Best wishes,

Ryan

Ryan Jones

MS Advisor

Take part in our quick survey

Posted on: May 24 2017

Hello,

There is still time to take part in our latest survey…we would like to know your thoughts about our Helpline opening hours.

We are reviewing whether there is demand for us to extend our hours to provide a service through existing and maybe new channels.
Please take the time to complete our survey to help us to make plans for the future.

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Thank you so much for sharing your opinions, they will help us shape this service for the future!

Best wishes,

Kim, Ryan and Laura

The MS-UK Helpline team

Helpline opening hours survey

Posted on: May 03 2017

the-ms-uk-helpline-team-kim-ryan-and-laura.jpgHi everyone,

We wanted to let you know about our latest survey…we would like to know your thoughts about our Helpline opening hours.
Currently the MS-UK Helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and is available via the freephone telephone number (0800 783 0518), live web chat or email.

The Helpline is staffed by trained advisors (that’s us!) to offer all the information you may need to make your own decisions.
We are reviewing our opening hours and exploring whether there is demand for us to extend those hours to provide a service through existing and maybe new channels.
Please take the time to complete our survey to help us to make plans for the future.

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Thank you so much for helping us with this research, your opinion will help us shape this service for the future!

Best wishes,

Kim, Ryan and Laura

The MS-UK Helpline team

National support and information about multiple sclerosis

Posted on: April 25 2017

the-ms-uk-helpline-team-kim-ryan-and-laura.jpgHi everyone, As it is MS Awareness Week, I just wanted to let you know about our national services that we offer here at MS-UK to supporting anyone affected by multiple sclerosis.

In my role at MS-UK I work on our Helpline. We are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and we can give you all the information you need to make your own decisions. I answer questions about a range of topics, such as benefits, treatments and travel. There really are no taboo subjects, and because MS-UK does not accept any funding from the NHS or pharmaceutical companies, we can remain completely unbiased.

You can call me or any of our Helpline team on 0800 783 0518, or use our live web chat service online. We also have a telephone interpreting service for anyone with limited English or no English at all. Just visit our website to find out more about this.

np-102a.jpgWe also produce information about multiple sclerosis, including our Choices leaflets. We cover topics like treatment, symptoms and life with MS. We have some useful downloads on our website such as the newly diagnosed booklet which you can download or order a free printed copy of. We also have a symptom diary which can be handy for when you have an appointment with your MS nurse or GP.

Our other national service is the bi-monthly magazine, New Pathways. Available in print, audio CD, plain text or online via the My MS-UK app, New Pathways covers MS news, research and topics you need to know about. At MS-UK we feel it is vitally important to share the real life stories of people affected by multiple sclerosis, and New Pathways gives us a chance to do this and showcase opinions and views.

You can find out more about New Pathways on our website. Should you need any support of information, please do get in touch, as we’re always here to help, Best wishes, and have a great MS Awareness Week!

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Kim Salmon MS Advisor, MS-UK Helpline

Would you like to chat online to a member of our Helpline team?

Posted on: March 21 2017

the-ms-uk-helpline-team-kim-ryan-and-laura.jpgWe have been using an online live chat system for some time now and it has shown to be popular. Certainly for those who may not feel in a position to pick up the telephone for whatever reason, and for those who would like a more instant response than email. It also means we have been able to chat to people abroad too, when they may have found it difficult to find support.

Our Digital Officer, John, has now developed a nice little function whereby a pop up appears on every page of our website to show people that the live chat facility is available. This has certainly increased the amount of web chats we have received which is great as it has meant we have reached out to more people affected by MS.

If we are engaged - either chatting to someone already, or perhaps on the telephone - then a message can be left via email and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Laura, Kim and Ryan

The MS-UK Helpline team

Phil and Rachel’s story…

Posted on: January 11 2017

Phil Hawkridge from Brightlingsea, Essex, was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in 1992. In this blog, his wife Rachel talks about getting support from the MS-UK Helpline with PIP forms…


img_2114.jpg‘My husband attends Josephs Court, so we knew that we would easily get help from the MS-UK Helpline,’ said Rachel, who approached the Helpline team to ask about completing the forms for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people with a long-term health condition or disability aged 16 to 64. The rate of support you receive depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself. Anyone applying for PIP will need an assessment to work out the level of help required. ‘I have to do all the paperwork, and the PIP form was very daunting,’ said Rachel. Phil’s diagnosis has changed since 1992, and he now lives with secondary progressive MS. Rachel is Phil’s carer now.

‘Ryan never rushed us and was hugely supportive. It was invaluable help.’

Taking time to discuss everything with Ryan from the MS-UK Helpline team meant that Rachel could get the best possible outcome for her husband Phil. Rachel added, ‘my husband was awarded the enhanced rate of PIP in both care and mobility, thanks entirely to Ryan.’


If PIP affects you and you need support, we want you to know that the Helpline team is here if you need us. The Helpline team all have benefits training and are able to give quality information and support to people contacting our service. We can spend time and support you to understand the processes involved and to be able to articulate your needs to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in a way that we hope will help you gain the right level of benefits for your personal circumstances. Getting in touch You can call the MS-UK Helpline for free on 0800 783 0518 during weekdays, between 9am and 5pm. Visit our live web chat page on the MS-UK website to speak to us online. Email us at info@ms-uk.org.


Please note that MS-UK cannot influence a decision by the DWP, and is able only to offer information and support.

MS-UK webchat service: Help at the touch of a button!

Posted on: September 20 2016

Sometimes picking up the phone to talk about MS can be difficult and sometimes you may need an instant response to a query, so emailing may not feel quite right either. Our web chat may well be the answer.

Our live web chat service is here for the whole MS community, our MS Advisors are available at the click of a button to chat you instantly. You can use your smart phone, tablet, laptop or PC and connect straight away with MS-UK.

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Connecting with the Helpline could not be easier. Simply click on the ‘chat live now’ button between the hours of 9am and 5pm UK time and you will be linked direct to an MS Advisor. Our Advisors will be able to begin supporting you in whatever way is best for you, whether that is listening and giving emotional support, or providing you with up-to-date and trusted information about multiple sclerosis or other disability related issues.

There is even a function where you can click on the ‘email’ icon and you will be sent a copy of the chat the moment the call finishes. This means you get to keep a record of anything that you discussed. This is particularly handy if you have been sent links to web based information that you may want to review at a later date.

If for any reason our MS Advisors are busy or unavailable you will still be able to leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as they are able.

Support is just a click away… we are here if you need us.

Ryan

MS Advisor

MS-UK Helpline Live Web Chat service

Posted on: May 13 2016

The variety of subjects the Helpline covers is a real reflection of how different MS can be from one person to the next.

This week we have seen an increase in the amount of web chat contacts we have received. We have had 10 contacts, covering a wide range of subjects and attracting people from far and wide, including places such as Bucharest and Pakistan.

That is the wonder of web chat, it makes our Helpline service available to people all over the world (during our office hours), especially in countries whereby support may be minimal or less is known about the condition. We can help to explain symptoms and provide information for people to understand multiple sclerosis better.

We have also had people contact us about specific subjects that can often be stressful, for example employment issues, ironically whilst sat at their desk, not knowing how to manage or deal with a tricky work related situation. Web chat makes it easy to ask questions instantly whilst remaining anonymous if you wish.

Whatever the subject, you can contact the MS-UK Helpline and we will always do our best to help.

Laura

MS-UK Helpline Supervisor

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Personal Independence Payment – some resources you may wish to know about….

Posted on: April 26 2016

Here at the MS-UK Helpline we’ve noticed that we have had a lot more calls lately from clients about Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This is not entirely unexpected as PIP has been in the news a lot lately. There has been confusion over proposed changes to PIP assessments and the fact that the government is now not going to implement their proposed change to the benefit after all.

We’ve also noticed that many people who have been receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) on ‘lifetime’ awards are only now receiving letters from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) inviting them to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

We thought that we would share with blog readers some of the useful tools and guides we use when helping clients.

One of the great resources that we use when helping clients with welfare rights issues is the ‘Disability Rights Handbook’ published by Disability Rights UK. Disability Rights UK is a national charity run by and for people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. MS-UK are a member organisation working with Disability Rights UK, meaning that along with over three hundred and twenty other organisations we can access their high level benefits support service. This means that if we cannot answer a client’s benefits enquiry ourselves we can tap into the expertise that is needed.

The Disability Rights Handbook is updated yearly and is a detailed guide to both disability benefits and independent living. Although available to the public, the Handbook is mainly used by advisors as it can be quite complicated to read due to its thorough and incredibly detailed content. The Handbook is an essential tool for our Helpline team!

Disability Rights UK also produce some really useful factsheets and guides which are all listed and available to download from their website. One of the guides we have been sharing with clients a lot recently is: Disability Rights UK Factsheet ‘F60’ – ‘Personal Independence Payment – free guide to making a claim’. A hard copy of the guide can be ordered from Disability Rights UK’s shop or downloaded for free as a word document.

One of the things the Helpline team really like about this guide is that it makes suggestions for people with fluctuating conditions to keep and submit a diary with their PIP claim and it even gives an example diary of someone with MS, which is really useful.

If PIP affects you, we hope that by knowing about these resources it helps you to be able to be as informed as you can be. If you need support, we want you to know that the Helpline team is here if you need us. The Helpline team all have benefits training and are able to give quality information and support to people contacting our service. We can spend time you and support you to understand the processes involved and to be able to articulate you needs to the DWP in a way that we hope will help you gain the right level of benefits for your personal circumstances.

Use our Live Web Chat service

Call 0800 783 0518

Email us info@ms-uk.org

 

MS Helpline sees a 40% increase in use over past year

Posted on: February 10 2016

National multiple sclerosis charity, MS-UK, celebrates their live web chat service after seeing a 40% increase in Helpline use over the past year.

MS-UK, the national charity supporting anyone affected by multiple sclerosis to make the most of today, is celebrating growth and promoting their live web chat service this week.

The live web chat service was launched in 2015 and 13% of contacts to the MS-UK Helpline went through this channel last year. Between 2014 and 2015, the charity experienced an almost 40% increase in the amount of people who used the MS-UK Helpline, and the live web chat service enables MS-UK to meet this demand.

By talking to people via web chat, and reducing the number of those contacting the Helpline on social media, MS-UK can be there for people all over the world while ensuring confidentiality. People get information instantly in the same way as calling the MS-UK Helpline, but it is all online.

Amy Woolf, MS-UK Chief Executive said, ‘I am very proud that MS-UK is the first national multiple sclerosis charity to provide a web chat service. The fact that take up has been so high is testament to the need for this service and the positive feedback we have had to date has proven its value. We are committed to providing people affected by MS with the information and support they need, when they need it and how they need it.’

Since 1993, MS-UK has offered information and support to anyone affected by multiple sclerosis via telephone. The MS-UK Helpline is confidential, unbiased and completely free.

Laura Amiss-Smith, MS-UK Helpline Supervisor said ‘I think the live web chat service is brilliant! It provides an invaluable service to people affected by MS, allowing the chance to be able to chat to us on the Helpline where they may not have previously felt able. For example, MS can affect a persons’ speech which can sometimes make telephone conversations difficult, the web chat service has opened up a new avenue of communication making our service even more accessible to all.’

Find out more about the MS-UK Helpline and the live web chat service online at http://www.ms-uk.org/helpline.

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