No two people are affected by epilepsy in the same way.  For one person it could mean complete seizure control with medication, for another it could mean frequent and uncontrolled seizures, and possibly linked to other health conditions.

Entitlement to welfare benefits and other financial assistance will depend on how a person is affected by their epilepsy on a day-to-day basis, and their personal circumstances.  Unpaid carers may also be entitled to financial help.

Always seek advice from a professional benefits adviser such as your local Citizens Advice Bureau or a welfare rights service before you complete any benefits application forms to get the best possible outcome for you.

Some of the financial assistance options which may be available to you are detailed below.

Welfare benefits

The benefits system is undergoing many changes.  To ensure you get the most up-to-date information on which benefits you may be entitled to, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for a benefits check, or check out the benefits section of the Citizens Advice website.

Some benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are not means tested which means that even if you are in full-time employment you may be entitled to it.

Council tax reduction for disabled people

If you have a disability you may be able to claim a discount on your council tax bill.  There are certain criteria you have to meet in order to qualify for this discount.  Your home should either have a special adaptation or an extra room which is needed because of a disability.  To find out more, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or your local council.

Scotland specific benefits

There are many benefits which are specific to Scotland such as:

  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement
  • Young Carers Grant
  • Discretionary Housing Payments in Scotland
  • The Scottish Government has also replaced the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant with Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grant payments
  • Scottish Welfare Fund for emergencies if you are on a low income
  • Other benefits may be available to parents of children with a severe disability or low income families such as the Child Winter Heating Assistance or the Scottish Child Payment

For full details of Scottish specific benefits, please see the following websites at https://www.mygov.scot/benefits/ or https://www.socialsecurity.gov.scot/benefits

You can also find out more from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Financial assistance from social work

If you or someone you care for needs adaptations to your home, and/or further help and support to live an independent life, but do not have the funds to pay for this, you can ask your local social work department for help.

To start the process, request a community care assessment for an adult, or a section 23 assessment for a child, which will look at your care and support needs.  The assessment will decide whether you or the person you care for is eligible for social care or adaptations to your home.

Following the assessment, you or someone you care for will be allocated an amount of money (also called an individual budget).

Self-directed Support (SDS) allows you to choose how support is provided to you or someone you care for by giving you more flexibility and choice over your care and individual budget.

Read our Assessment of care needs publication to learn more about this.

Blue Badge Scheme

The Blue Badge Scheme is designed to help people with severe mobility problems to travel independently as either a driver or a passenger.  The badge allows you to use special disabled parking spaces and to park where other drivers cannot.  Find out more details from your local authority.

National Entitlement Card (free bus pass)

Anyone in the UK aged 16 and over who has had a seizure in the last 12 months and is receiving treatment for epilepsy will be entitled to a free Scotland wide bus pass (National Entitlement Card).  Some people may get a companion card if they are in receipt of certain benefits.  A companion card will allow another adult to travel with them free of charge.

Any young person of fare paying age (5 to 15) can get a free bus pass if they meet other criteria, such as receiving DLA.

The bus pass is usually valid for one year, after which time you can get it renewed if you have had a further seizure in the last 12 months.

Disabled Person’s Railcard

Anyone in the UK who has epilepsy and who still has regular seizures despite taking anti-epileptic drugs, will be entitled to a Disabled Person’s Railcard.  You have to buy this card for a yearly fee which then gives you one third off train fares for travel across the UK.  An adult travelling with you will also get one third off the fare.

You can get your railcard by calling 0845 605 0525 or visiting their webpage: www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk.

Taxi card scheme

Some local authorities in Scotland will provide a taxi card for those who have permanent and severe mobility issues.  If these stop you from using public transport and you have no other means of transport, you may get this card, allowing you to travel by taxi at a reduced fare.  You need to contact your own local authority to find out about potential taxi schemes in your area.

Concession charges and discounts

Many local attractions such as your local zoo, botanic gardens or leisure centre may give discounted rates or free entry to someone with a disability and/or their carer.  Contact the venue direct to find out more.

Trusts and charities

Financial help in the form of grants may be available from a number of trusts and charities.  Organisations such as Turn2us 0808 802 2000 can help you find those trusts which may be able to help.

Further information

For more detailed information on all of these topics, read our Financial Assistance publication.

We also have more specialised publications covering:

  • The Scottish Child Payment
  • Child Winter Heating Assistance
  • Child Disability Payment

If you are not sure what kind of financial help you may be entitled to in Scotland, you can get further information and guidance from:

 

  • Our own welfare rights service at Epilepsy Scotland.  To contact them, please phone 0141 427 4911.
  • Disability Information Scotland – Scotland’s National Disability Information Service provides advice on all aspects of disability including local services and questions about benefits.
  • Your local Citizens Advice Bureau

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