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how your disability affects you

If you have contacted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and you meet the eligibility criteria to apply for this benefit, the DWP will send you a form to complete. This form is designed to find out how your condition affects you in relation to 12 everyday activities. Your answers will be used to assess whether you are eligible to receive PIP and if so, at what rate your benefit will be paid.

This information is specific to epilepsy. It explains the different activities assessed for PIP, and what these might mean for someone with epilepsy, including some examples of how epilepsy might affect each activity. These suggestions may or may not apply to you, but they might help you think about how your condition affects you. We cannot guarantee that these suggestions will help you to get a good outcome from your application.

This information might also be helpful if you are filling in the PIP form on behalf of someone else.

As this information only includes examples relating to epilepsy, if you have other disabilities or conditions that affect your daily activities, remember to include how these other conditions affect you, in your answer to each question.

Please note: this guide has been prepared using information from the DWP and Disability Rights UK and Citizens Advice.

How your condition affects you

Having epilepsy does not necessarily mean that you will receive PIP. Being eligible for PIP does not depend on what condition you have, but on how your condition affects you. Although epilepsy is a physical condition, it can also have sensory (affecting your senses), cognitive (such as your thinking, understanding, concentration and memory) and psychological (such as impact on mood) effects. Being eligible for PIP also includes any help you need, whether or not you currently get that help.

It is useful to think about how your epilepsy affects you in all these ways when you are filling in your form. For example, your epilepsy may affect your mood, your thinking or your memory, which may in turn affect how well you recover from seizures.

Your answers to each section or ‘activity’ on the PIP form need to explain fully and clearly how your condition affects you and your ability to do that activity. So, for example, rather than saying ‘I can’t do this because I have epilepsy…’ you might say ‘my epilepsy means that I can’t do this because…’ and give specific examples.

When completing the form, it is important that you answer all of the questions honestly and as fully as possible. Try to avoid ‘putting on a brave face’ and be clear about explaining any difficulties you have, even if it feels embarrassing or uncomfortable to do so. Equally, be honest about how likely problems are, or how frequently they occur. Where you can, include real-life examples of how your condition affects you, so that the DWP assessors can understand how your epilepsy impacts on your daily life.

How your condition affects you could include the following:

  • how your epilepsy and seizures affect you, for example, during or after seizures;
  • how long it takes for you to recover after a seizure, for example, if you feel drowsy or disorientated after a seizure you can include the time it takes for you to feel ‘back to normal’ again;
  • how your epilepsy and seizures affect people around you, for example if you have to rely on help from people around you;
  • how any medication or treatment for your epilepsy affects you, for example if it makes you tired or causes headaches or nausea (feeling sick); and
  • whether your condition affects your concentration, memory, motivation or mood. 

Taken from our PIP - the assessment criteria factsheet. Download this factsheet using the link below.