People with epilepsy must keep access to PIP – Epilepsy Action

Published: May 03 2024
Last updated: May 03 2024

Grace Wood | The government has launched a consultation into Personal Independent Payments

The Department for Work and Pensions announced a consultation into PIP this weekEpilepsy Action is opposing proposed changes to Personal Independent Payments (PIP) announced this week by the UK government.

The Department for Work and Pensions announced a consultation into the benefit, saying it would move from a fixed cash benefit system towards tailored support.

However, Epilepsy Action said a further crackdown on disability benefits, especially with the proposed criteria, will only make it harder for people with epilepsy to access PIP.

It is urging people with epilepsy to make their voices heard, as being refused PIP could affect access to further benefits such as the enhanced disability premium, council tax relief, housing benefit deductions and others.

As part of the proposed reforms, the government has launched the ‘Modernising Support Green Paper’, which it says will “explore how our welfare system could be redesigned to ensure people with disabilities and long-term health conditions get the support they need to achieve the best outcomes, with an approach that focuses support on those with the greatest needs and extra costs”.

But campaigners are fearful that any reforms could make it even harder for disabled people to access the financial support they need.

Daniel Jennings, Epilepsy Action’s senior policy and campaigns manager, said: “The proposed changes to PIP payments are very concerning.

There is no such thing as a mild mental health issue and to suggest as such is massively insulting. We know that many people with epilepsy experience depression and anxiety, which can have a severe impact on their daily lives, on top of the impact their epilepsy has.”

In a statement on Monday (29 April, 2024), Work and Pensions secretary Mel Stride said: “We’re making the biggest welfare reforms in a generation – protecting those most in need while supporting thousands into work as we modernise our benefit system to reflect the changing health landscape.

“A decade on from the introduction of PIP, this Green Paper opens the next chapter of reform, enhancing the support for people with health conditions and disabilities while ensuring the system is fair to the taxpayer.”

Epilepsy Action will be responding to the consultation. To let the government know your views, click here.