Almost 60 per cent of epilepsy sufferers in East Dunbartonshire are losing out on benefits

editorial image

Almost 60 per cent of epilepsy sufferers on disability benefits in East Dunbartonshire had their claims denied after the roll-out of the new system, figures reveal.

The charity Epilepsy Action says the system is “failing people with epilepsy”, and that assessors frequently have little understanding of the condition.

Since 2013, the Government has been moving claimants from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.

Over the last six years, 34 epilepsy sufferers in East Dunbartonshire applied to switch from DLA to PIP, according to Department for Work and Pensions figures.

Of those, 20 had their claims denied and their payments stopped – 59 per cent of applicants. The rejection rate for epilepsy patients is more than double the average across all disabling conditions, which is 25 per cent.

A survey by the charity revealed nine in 10 sufferers felt that the person carrying out their PIP assessment did not understand their illness.

Chief executive Philip Lee said: “Time and again, we hear that the assessment process for PIP fails to recognise the impact epilepsy can have on a person’s life.

“This is a seriously flawed system that must change, or it will continue to have more devastating effects on people with epilepsy.”

The DWP says PIP was introduced because the previous system was “outdated”.

A spokesperson said that of those people with epilepsy who are awarded PIP, 27 per cent get the highest level of support, compared to six per cent under DLA.