Your help is needed to make a new UK benefit work for people with epilepsy
The information below is for residents of England, Scotland and Wales.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are looking for volunteers to help test its new criteria for assessing people for personal independence payment.
The personal independence payment (PIP) will replace working age disability living allowance (DLA) from 2013-14.
They are looking for people from England, Scotland and Wales who have epilepsy and are receiving working age DLA.
Epilepsy Action has agreed to promote this, and to pass on the names of willing volunteers to the DWP. We believe this could be a good opportunity to make sure that the needs of people with epilepsy are properly taken into account before the new benefit is introduced.
The results of the testing will be used to make changes for the next draft of the assessment, which will be published in the autumn.
What is involved?
The DWP is looking for people to take part in a one hour, face-to-face appointment with a healthcare professional. This would be a healthcare professional from G4S Medical Services, who is a company working on behalf of DWP.
The DWP will randomly select from willing volunteers, you can change your mind about participating at any time, for any reason.
The appointment will take about an hour. You can have a family member or friend with them throughout. The healthcare professional will ask you to confirm your identity and will ask for your written consent from the person taking part. They will ask about the impact of your epilepsy, and there may be a brief physical examination.
Taking part will not affect any benefits you are claiming or may claim in the future. After the completed appointment, you will receive a £30 high street voucher for ‘love2shop’. The DWP have confirmed to us that the voucher will not affect any benefits or tax credits that you are claiming, now or in the future.
If you choose to go to an assessment centre, you will also have reasonable travel costs refunded.
The DWP assure us that information collected will be treated in confidence; all records will be anonymous and will be destroyed after the testing.
Epilepsy Action will not keep the details of anyone that volunteers to take part.
The name, address and telephone number of people who have agreed to take part will be passed to Atos Healthcare or G4S, so they can arrange an appointment with you. This appointment will either take place at your home or at an assessment centre, whichever you would prefer.
Please not that not all those who volunteer will be contacted. Appointment details will be confirmed by Atos Healthcare or G4S by letter.
If you are interested
Thanks to everyone who contacted us. The deadline for this has now passed.