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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Possible benefits for people with epilepsy in England

This information for people in England. See also Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you’re outside the UK, your local epilepsy group may be able to help.

In this section

Free prescriptions

If you have epilepsy and take epilepsy medicines, you are entitled to free prescriptions. This is for all your prescription medicines, not just your epilepsy medicines.

How to get free prescriptions
To claim free prescriptions, ask your GP or hospital doctor for application form FP92A.This is the application form for a medical exemption certificate. You need to fill in parts 1 and 2. Your hospital doctor, GP or a member of staff at your GP surgery, will sign to confirm that the information you have given is correct. They will then send for an exemption certificate for you. These usually last for five years. It is your responsibility to renew it.

Reclaiming prescription costs
Until you have your exemption certificate, you will have to pay for your prescriptions. You will be able to claim the money back, once you have your exemption certificate. To do this, ask the pharmacist for a receipt form FP57 when you pay for the prescription. There is information on FP57 that tells you how to claim the money back.

For more information about prescription charges contact NHS Choices
Tel: 0300 330 1341
Website: nhs.uk

The Disabled Persons Railcard

If you have epilepsy, you are eligible for a Disabled Persons Railcard if you either:

  • Still have seizures even though you take epilepsy medicine or
  • You are not allowed to drive because of your epilepsy

To prove this you will either need to provide a copy of your Exemption Certificate for epilepsy medicine, and a photocopy of your prescription for your epilepsy medicine or a letter from the DVLA stating you are unable to drive. You will probably not be entitled to a Disabled Person’s Railcard if you don’t take epilepsy medicine.

You will need to pay for a Disabled Persons Railcard, but it will save you money if you regularly travel by train.

Adults get a discount of up to a third on a range of rail tickets. One adult travelling with you will get the same discount as you.

Children aged from five to 15 years will pay the normal child’s train fare. However, if a child has a Disabled Persons Railcard, one adult who is travelling with them can claim a discount of one third off their own adult’s fare.

You can get an application form for a Disabled Persons Railcard from any of the following places:

  • Some railway stations
  • The Disabled Persons Railcard website: disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk
  • Rail Travel Made Easy, tel: 0845 605 0525
  • Epilepsy Action

Free bus travel

If you would be refused a driving licence because of your epilepsy, you are entitled to a free bus pass. You are not eligible to hold a free bus pass just because you have epilepsy.
The rules state that the condition must have lasted 12 months or be likely to last 12 months or to happen again. So you are unlikely to qualify if you have had an isolated seizure, or are waiting for a diagnosis.

There is no age limit for this bus pass. It applies to adults and disabled children.

Epilepsy Action has more information about epilepsy and driving

A free bus pass can be used for free travel in England between 9.30am and 11.00pm Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays. In some areas, you may also be able to travel free at other times. You may also get reduced local rail fares.

For more information about how to get your free bus pass, contact your local council or your local passenger transport authority.

You can find details of these in your local Phone Book, or by contacting Epilepsy Action, freephone 0808 800 5050.

Alternatively, a list of local councils in England is on the government website:  gov.uk/find-your-local-council

Bus passes in London - the Freedom pass

If you are eligible for a free bus pass and you live in Greater London, you can apply for a Freedom Pass. This gives you free travel on the entire Transport for London network. On most services, you can use the pass at any time. On other services, you may only use it at certain times.

Contact Freedom Pass for more information about using the pass and how to apply:
Tel: 0845 275 7054
Website: freedompass.org 

Access to Work

Some people who can’t drive because they have epilepsy, may be entitled to help with the additional costs of travel to and from work, and also travelling while at work. This comes under the Access to Work scheme.

You apply by ringing 0345 268 8489.
Website: gov.uk/access-to-work/overview

Access to Work information for employers: gov.uk

Organisations that offer benefits advice

Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice gives free, confidential, impartial and independent advice about your rights, including benefits. They can also help you fill out claim forms for benefits.
Tel: 03444 111 444 (for advice by telephone)
Website: adviceguide.org.uk/england

For information and advice on benefits and grants
Tel: 0808 802 2000
Website: turn2us.org.uk

Contact a Family
Offers benefits advice for people with a disabled child
 Tel: 0808 808 3555
Website: cafamily.org.uk
Disability Information and Advice Line services, run by and for disabled people. They may be able to refer you to someone who can help you fill out claim forms for benefits (provided there is someone in your area).
Freephone: 0808 800 3333 (to find your local group)
Website: scope.org.uk/dial

This website has lots of information about all the different benefits that are available.
Website: gov.uk/browse/benefits

Disability Rights UK
This website has a number of free factsheets you can download.  It offers basic information about benefits, tax credits, social care and other disability- related issues for claimants and advisers.
Website: disabilityrightsuk.org

Cerebra have a free guide which takes you through each stage of applying for Disability Living Allowance for children.
Tel: 0800 328 1159
Website: cerebra.org.uk

Organisations that offer legal advice

This will help you find a legal adviser in your area
Website: gov.uk/find-a-legal-adviser
Law Centres Network
This will help you find a law centre or other legal advice in your area
Website: lawcentres.org.uk/i-am-looking-for-advice

Citizens Advice
This will give you general information about taking legal advice.
Website: adviceguide.org.uk/england

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Helpline by email at helpline@epilepsy.org.uk.

Pay it forward

This resource is freely available as part of Epilepsy Action’s commitment to improving life for all those affected by epilepsy.

On average it costs £414 to produce an advice and information page – if you have valued using this resource, please text FUTURE to 70500 to donate £3 towards the cost of our future work. Terms and conditions. Thank you

We can provide references and information on the source material we use to write our epilepsy advice and information pages. Please contact our Epilepsy Helpline by email at helpline@epilepsy.org.uk.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated August 2014
    To be reviewed November 2015

Comments: read the 15 comments or add yours


Hi there,
I wondered if you could help me or offer me some advice. I am a mum to 2 young children 7 months and 3 years and since having my children my epilepsy has got worse mainly due to lack of sleep. I can have anything up to 8 seizures a night on a bad day and a few seizures a week on a good week. I really struggled sometimes and don't have family support.
Firstly is there any help out there for me? Do I need or can I be registered disabled? Is there any benefits or support I can apply for? Also is there any free hours available for my sons at nursery as I have epilepsy?
Thanking you in advance

Submitted by Andree on

Hi Andree

Thanks for your message. Being a mum to two young children is tiring at the best of times. It’s even more difficult if that exhaustion leads to more seizures.

Registering as disabled is not necessary to get help. The first step would be to contact your local social services for an assessment of your needs. The NHS website has some practical information about help for disabled parents, like how to make the most of your needs assessment.

Turn2Us can help you find what other grants and benefits you could be able to get. They have an online benefits calculator, and a telephone helpline on 0808 802 2000.

Also, all three and four year olds in England are entitled to free early education places of at least 15 hours a week. Some 2 year olds are also eligible. Your local council will have information about registered childcare near you. As well as the government details here, the Family and Childcare Trust  has useful information about the government scheme and more on their website.                                                                                                                     

Sacha Wellborn

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Sacha on

hi there, i got assulted around 18months-20months ago, and sufferd a sever brain injury along with fractured skull, bleeding on brain and a broken jaw. i was in hospital for two weeks but due to injurys was fitting in hospital so was perscribed epilim, the court case was on goin for 6-8months but the idiot who assulted me got off and didnt do any time behind bars.since then i have sufferd anxity problums im practicaly house bound unless i have a drink. my confidence is at a all time low and the idiot who assalted me came back looking for me 2-3months ago but i was not in. now i have moved away but i stoped all my appointments with headway months ago because i did not feel safe out of my house. but i now realise i can not keep on living like this, i get d.l.a but ive now lost contact with my family we no longer speak and my father works away, i now live with my girlfriend but she's in work till 6pm mon-sat, and my last fit was 1month ago and it was the 1st time she witnessed my firs, and i know she is petrified about my health and does not want to witness another. and my g.p is really woried about my state of mind, and has e-mailed headway to get me back on course to change my life around and get back in to work, but i live 15+miles away from hospital were my headway appointments will be held, but i havnt got the funds to get there and was wondering how do i get hold of a public railcard card. would be a great help to hear from u soon. thanks for your time.

Submitted by matthew davies on

I have from epilepsy for 47 Years and contiously had gran mail sezuires
My work has always been in hospitality, but after many years of management i find myself out of work for nearly a year.after 8 months to be assed for pip was refused because iam mobile and can wash myself so i remain on £60 a week and no home. i try for work but with an average of two sezures a week iam not finding this easy,
i have had many years from young in hospital but still not resolved,
i read everything about what we can claim for but after months of waiting still refused, the only thing that keeps me going is i organise events for charity from the entertainment and venue with promotions and about to do another large charity day.
i wait to go back into hospital after doctors say they canot do no more for me but with so many years of study i no i can have the opertions to the neck to reduce the electricy.
i suffer from depression and caused by so many years of epelepsy damage with traped nerves due to be operated,
After a long story my arguement is nothing is out there when you get older as doctors place you under a lower catergory but with no work no finance the only i look forward to is organising charity events .
if an ybody can help me with charity full time work i have a great to show of the funds raised and a list of future events,
for all the music lovers like myself and the best medicine and cure, iam organising a large ska, northern soul, motown and reggae event, feel free to help

Submitted by Gary Thomas on

Hi Gary

I’m sorry to hear of your difficulties due to your epilepsy. I hope the following information will help.

If the operation you are referring to is the vagal nerve operation, we have information on this. The VNS can be used as an add-on therapy for difficult to control epilepsy.  The benefits of having the VNS can include having fewer or less severe seizures and hopefully an improved quality of life. If you have concerns about the surgery, you may find it helpful to contact others that have already had the VNS fitted. You could try contacting others on our facebook page or our online community, forum4e.

To qualify for PIP you must meet the ‘fifty per cent rule’. So you must need support 50 per cent or more of the time. For example during a month, you must need support in order to be able to complete key tasks, at least 16 out of the 30 or 31 days of the month. In this situation you might qualify for PIP. But if you only needed support for 14 or less of the days, then you wouldn’t qualify for PIP. May I suggest you talk to Turn2us about your PIP claim? Turn2us is a charity that offers a confidential service which helps people to find out about benefits and grants they may be entitled to. They will ask you questions about your own personal situation to see if you are entitled to PIP.  Apart from your seizures, you need to make them aware of the after effects of our seizures and any support you need at that time. You also need to make them aware of your depression.

I wondered if you have spoken to the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your jobcentre. They can help people with a disability look for a job, or see if there are any new skills they’d like to learn. They can also tell you about disability friendly employers in your area.

Our fundraising team wondered if you’d be interested in our volunteering schemes. And for your events you could register it at www.epilepsy.org.uk/registermyevent. We will then send you a fundraising pack along with a letter of authorisation.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Yours sincerely


Advice and Information Services Officer

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

Hi I am 31 years old and have been diagnosed with epilepsy since I was 15, my epilepsy was well controlled until this year I have had atleast 5 due to personal stress. I have always worked and I am in my current employment for 4 years now. I have had to stop driving to my seizures, my husband previously worked from home so he was able to do the school runs for my 7 year old boy and drop and pick me up from work.
He has now started a different job as was made redundant from previous work so has to go to work.

I applied for flexible working hours at work as I am find it hard using public transport due to having a serious seizure whilst waiting for the bus and also finding it difficult to be at home when my son finishes school which was ok before as my husband was there.

My flexible working request was rejected as does not suit the business needs. I have appealed and due to being off work sick they have said they set an appeal meeting as I was not in they had to cancel but they sent nothing in writing to say any meeting was set or anything.

There are also other employees working there that are working just two days and they are ok to do that whereas I have a disability and a child and I am refused.

At the moment I am having to rely on my uncle to pick and drop my son to school and have to leave my son at their house for two days a week for me to work. This will not always be convenient for them...

I am stuck and may have to stop working due to the stress and my employers not helping me...is their anything I can do???

p.s sorry about rambling on bit this stress is taking over

Submitted by sam on

Hi Sam

Sorry to hear of the problems you are having with getting your little boy to and from school.  

Due to your epilepsy you are covered by the disability discrimination act. This means, if your epilepsy affects your ability to get to work or to do your job, your employer has to make any reasonable adjustment to help you. However, the adjustments have to be reasonable for both of you. Your employer should discuss and explain their decision with you.

If after this discussion, you think you are being discriminated against, it would be advisable to seek advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (England, Scotland and Wales). The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provides advice and guidance on rights, responsibilities and good practice, based on the equality law and human rights. They will also tell you what your rights are as a working mum.

I hope things work out for you.


Diane, Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Mark@Epilepsy Action on

Hi I was just wondering my son is 10 and has been diagnosed with epilepsy recently he has had 20 seizures since August last year is he entitled to a bus pass I know he isn't old enough to drive but was just wondering if he was allowed one thanks

Submitted by Teresa on

Hi Teresa

Your son may be eligible for a concessionary bus pass, it depends if he is getting any welfare benefits because of his epilepsy. These are likely to be the higher rate mobility component of DLA, or the mobility part of PIP. You cans see information about these benefits here.  You would usually apply for the concessionary bus pass through your local council. Here is a link to finding your local council.

Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy, Epilepsy... on

Hi can my son claim for phi from his employers who may be finishing my son on the grounds of not being able to carry working for them because they say they haven't got anywhere safe for him to work in,which we know is untrue

Submitted by Beverley gell on

Hi, I have recently had a 7 minute tonic/clonic seizure whilst asleep which has resulted in me now being told by my gp I can not drive for a minimum of 6 months. Im not any regular epilepsy medication and im waiting to see a specialist. I have a commute to work which without and discounts nor help will cost me more than double driving. Is there anything I can do as this is threatening my ability to keep my job?

Submitted by Sarah on

Hi Sarah

It must have been a shock having a seizure. I hope your appointment to the neurologist is soon.

Unfortunately we don’t know if you can apply for a bus. Our information is for someone with a diagnosis of epilepsy and taking epilepsy medicine. Maybe you could contact your local council who supply the bus pass. You will be able to find your council contact details on gov.uk/find-your-local-council.

Think carefully before you give up working, as you may find you are not entitled to any benefits. So for some people this would be an even worse situation to be in.  If you would like to look into this further, you could talk to Citizens Advice or Turn2us who are both benefits advice organistions.




Diane Wallace

Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane, Epilepsy... on

Hi, My daughter was diagnosed with child absence epilepsy in March 2014. She was put on Epilim which didn't agree with her at all and she became a different child on this mediciation. Now she is on Ethosuximide and so far so good but she has lost a lot of weight. I was wondering if she is entitled to any benefits? The doctor has told us she musn't be left alone especially when ridering her bike or in a swimming pool for example. Thanks

Submitted by Julie on

hi I'm wondering if you can help me. I am a 45 years old and I'm after some advice. I am profoundly deaf and suffer with cluster migraines and vertigo and after being referred to a neurologist (who diagnosed me after an MRI and consultation) I was placed on preventative medication to control the severity/number of migraines I was having each month. I was prescribed Topiramate which has helped but other symptoms I mentioned at my original appointment are still there. I know migraine and epilepsy are quite similar symptom wise but while I still get an "aura" I have started to experience other symptoms as well. Pins and needles and what can only be described as an electric pulsing inside my head.
I know I have experienced a few "absences" as well because other people have noticed and now I am waking during the night with similar symptoms.
I have recently had a cochalear implant fitted and developed short term Bell's palsy which was triggered by a virus due to complications from my operation so I am unsure whether this is connected - I just know I am not right in myself. Please help.

Submitted by Marie on

Dear Marie
Thank you for your question.

It sounds like you have a lot going on regarding your health. Living with cluster headaches must be so distressing.  As trained epilepsy advisers, we can give general information on epilepsy and related issues. But we’re not able to diagnose your symptoms.

There is limited research and information on the link between epilepsy and migraine. Basically both conditions often exist together. There is a variety of possibilities: migraines that cause epilepsy, epilepsy that causes migraines, an underlying cause for both conditions, and situations in which the conditions exist completely separately.

Here are some links to information relating to headaches/migraine and epilepsy that I hope you will find interesting.





You might find it helpful to look at our information on seizures and some of their symptoms. This is to see if you can identify any of your symptoms. If you doesn’t already, it could be helpful to keep a diary of your symptoms. Then discuss your diary and concerns with the neurologist.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again. You can contact us directly by email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk  or phone the Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am until 5.30pm.

Diane Wallace
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane, Epilepsy... on