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Changes to tests for work capability - have your say

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Nicola Swanborough

Changes to tests for work capability - have your say

The Government has announced plans to introduce new welfare reforms which it says will help give people with disabilities and health conditions more opportunity to benefit from flexible working including working from home.

The reforms will look at the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), a test that looks at how much a disability or illness limits a person’s ability to work.

The Department for Works and Pensions say they want to update the WCA’s categories so that they better reflect the modern world of working which includes working from home and more flexible working patterns.

Earlier this year the Government announced £2 billion investment to support disabled people and people with health conditions into work.

By reviewing the WCA categories, the Government hopes to ensure people have the appropriate work opportunities and tailored support.

It is important that you submit your views to the Government about the welfare reforms and how they will affect you. You will find a two-page guidance document and a link to taking part in the consultation at the end of this article.

Nicola Swanborough, Head of External Affairs at the Epilepsy Society said: “The world of work has changed considerably since the pandemic, and is still evolving. This has opened up opportunities for many people to work from home which could benefit some people whose seizures mean they cannot drive.

“It could also mean more flexible working for those who experience anxiety alongside their epilepsy.

“However, it is critical that those carrying out the assessments have a full understanding of the complexities of epilepsy, its unpredictability and the challenges of a hidden disability.

“Epilepsy often goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression. Asleep seizures can leave people shattered in the morning and while one person may recover quickly from a seizure, others can take a week or more to feel well again.

"Someone with epilepsy may be able to run 10km on a good day, but following a seizure they may struggle to get to the toaster to make breakfast. Epilepsy doesn't fit neatly into binary categories. It needs to be considered in its full context.

“If someone with epilepsy is returning to the workplace, it will be important for them to feel fully supported and for their employers to understand epilepsy and to make any necessary adjustments.”

The consultation will run until 30 October 2023 and the welfare reforms will come into force in 2025.

How to take part in the consultation

The Government wants to hear from people with disabilities as well as disability organisations. It will be holding a number of virtual events and face-to-face meetings. You can find all the details here: You can submit your views here. We have also prepared a two page guidance document to help you complete the consultation. 

You can read the full details of the Government's proposed welfare reforms and the consultation here.

Epilepsy training in the workplace

We offer a full programme of epilepsy training course in the workplace. If you are in work or returning to work and would like your employers and colleagues to feel more confident about supporting someone with epilepsy, you can find out more here.


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