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.
The assessment process is already not effective at capturing and reflecting the nature of epilepsy. Each descriptor carries a number of points. The descriptor helps the assessor decide what someone is capable of while carrying out daily activities. Epilepsy Action believes that they do 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.
Epilepsy Action wants the government to urgently review and assess the whole PIP assessment process.
What we are doing
The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) has launched a report, 'Supporting Those Who Need it Most?'. As a member of the DBC we support the recommendations in this report.
We are working with MPs to help them highlight the issue in Parliament. We also help them to support their constituents who have concerns about PIP.
We speak to the media, sharing stories and concerns to make sure the issue doesn’t go away and that people continue to talk about it.
We speak to people with epilepsy and epilepsy specialist nurses about their experiences. We will continue to use these to illustrate why we want to see changes to the assessment process and the impact PIP has on individual lives. We submitted a response to the 2nd Gray Review of the PIP assessment which includes our recommendations to improve the process for people with epilepsy. The findings of the review have now been published.
How you can be involved
You can share the DBC report with your MP and ask them to take it to the Minister.
Share your experiences and tell them how Personal Independence Payments, or the lack of, affects your daily life.
Get involved on social media using the hashtag #PIP or #GetAGripOnPIP to keep attention on the issue.
We want to hear your experience of PIP and the assessment process. What difference does it make to your life if you’ve been awarded PIP? What is the impact if you haven’t? By collecting people’s experiences and providing real examples we can highlight areas that need improvement. We can show why the assessment process needs to be reviewed and why the governments planned changes shouldn’t go ahead. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have help and guidance on PIP and other benefits on our website or call the Epilepsy Action Helpline on Freephone 0808 800 5050.