What's the issue?
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit which helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill health or disability. To be awarded PIP you must live in England, Scotland or Wales. You must also go through an assessment process. This can include filling out a form, submitting further evidence and having a face to face assessment. If you are not awarded PIP you can ask for the decision to be reconsidered (mandatory reconsideration). If you are still unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal the decision.
Epilepsy Action believes the assessment process is not effective at capturing and reflecting the nature of epilepsy. It does not assess the impact epilepsy has on an individual’s daily life. This means that people are not awarded the correct level of PIP, or may not be awarded PIP at all. We want to see the assessment process change to make it better for people with epilepsy.
What we are doing
We have been speaking to people with epilepsy and epilepsy specialist nurses about their experiences and what changes they want to see. Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts and experiences with us.
The Department for Work and Pensions has asked civil servant Paul Gray to carry out an Independent Review of how the PIP assessment is currently working. We have submitted a response to the review. It includes changes we believe will improve the assessment process for people with epilepsy. We hope Paul Gray will consider and include these recommendations in his final report.
- Clear guidance available to claimants and healthcare professionals to help them provide the correct and most relevant further evidence to support an individual’s submission
- The time-frame to submit a claim extended from 1 month to 8 weeks
- Assessments for people with epilepsy to be done by assessors who have received specific training in epilepsy
- All assessors to receive training on understanding the nature of fluctuating conditions
- A more flexible approach to the assessment process for fluctuating and hidden conditions, allowing for differences in people’s ability
- A review of the ‘safely and repeatedly’ requirement to ensure that it is being applied correctly for people with Epilepsy Action
We work with assessment providers across the country to ensure the guidelines and training they provide to assessors about epilepsy, is accurate, and effective. We hope that by working with providers we can influence positive change for people with epilepsy and improve their experience of the assessment process.
We are members of the Disability Benefits Consortium, a national coalition of over 60 different charities and other organisations. The Disability Benefits Consortium is committed to working towards a fairer benefits system. Together we seek to ensure government policy reflects and meets the needs of all disabled people.
How you can be involved
We want to continue trying to improve the assessment process. We can only do this by understanding how it works for people with epilepsy, what the issues are and how it affects the outcome.
If you’ve been through the PIP assessment process or know someone who has, then we want to hear your experience. By sharing these experiences with the providers we can highlight areas for further training or changes in guidance. Contact us at email@example.com
We have help and guidance on PIP and other benefits on our website or call the Epilepsy Action Helpline on Freephone 0808 800 5050.