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of everyone affected by epilepsy


The Equality Act

This information about the Equality Act applies to people who live in England Scotland and Wales. If you live in Northern Ireland, see our information about the Disability Discrimination Act.

If you are looking for information about disability discrimination in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.

The Equality Act came into force in October 2010. It protects people in England, Scotland and Wales from unfair discrimination because of their disability, race, religion or belief, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex, sexual orientation or age. These are known as protected characteristics. The message of the Equality Act is that everyone has the right to be treated fairly at work, or when using services.

The Equality Act has extra rules for government and other public organisations. They must have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities. To ‘pay due regard to’ means they should try to achieve the aims, but they do not have a legal obligation to achieve them.

Am I considered to be disabled if I have epilepsy?

You are likely to be classed as disabled by the Equality Act if:

  • You have epilepsy that has a substantial effect on your day-to-day activities or
  • Your epilepsy would have a substantial effect if you were not taking your epilepsy medicine or
  • You have a type of epilepsy that is not currently causing any problems or needs epilepsy medicine, but could come back or 
  • Your epilepsy has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 months

However, only a disability tribunal could say for certain whether your epilepsy means you  are classed as disabled under the Equality Act, or not.

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 Action Helpline freephone on 0808 800 5050.


Epilepsy Action would like to thank Carl Graham, solicitor and partner in UK law firm DWF LLP for reviewing this information.

Carl Graham has declared no conflict of interest.

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

  • Updated May 2016
    To be reviewed May 2019

Comments: read the 3 comments or add yours


I am epileptic and suffering from it since 2015. I am getting housing benefit from Brent council and was recent asked to produce the sources of my income, pay slips, contract agreement with the employers...etc. I was asked these as I stoped receiving Job Seekers allowance since August 2017. I however have been doing some on and off temporary jobs in various construction sites as a labourer. They are now telling me that they would stop my housing benefit if I don't produce the documents I previously mentioned. This time I can produce ofcourse my bank statements as I don't have proper agreements with construction companies which I was in as I have been coming to these jobs with little payment through agencies. I am doing all these with the conviction that I better do something at least to feed myself instead of sitting and waiting all supports from the government.
I also wish if I knew your branch office in Edware area as I do want to come and share my life situation as a person with epilepsy. Thanks.

Submitted by Kochito Petros on

Looking to receive regular advice

Submitted by Brian Mitchell on

Hi Brian

There are a few different ways in which you can get advice and information from us.

You could become a member.

You could look through our many advice and information pages.

You could decide there is particular information you would like. And we could send it to you.

Or you could subscribe to our E Action newsletter.  The information about this is at the bottom of the page, in red.

Hopefully at least one of these ideas will be what you’re looking for.



Epilepsy Action Helpline Team


Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

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