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HELP AND BENEFITS

 

The details given have been obtained from reliable sources but cannot be guaranteed as accurate at the present or any future date

Free prescriptions

Medical exemption certificates are issued on application to people who have epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy

To apply for a Medical exemption certificate ask your doctor for an FP92A form. Your GP, hospital or service doctor will sign the form to confirm that your statement is correct. At your GP's discretion, a member of the practice who has access to your medical records can also sign the form.

 Your certificate will be valid from one month before the date that the NHS Business Authrority receives the application form.

 The Medical Exemption certificate  lasts for five years and then needs to be renewed. You may receive a reminder that your certificate needs to be renewed. If you don't receive a reminder, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is renewed.

 

Introducing a better quality transport service

 

A new and improved patient transport service is being launched across Kent and Medway on 1 July 2016. Tough new measures to raise standards are being introduced, with greater emphasis on customer care and getting patients home from hospital promptly.

 The service, which is for people who cannot get to their NHS funded hospital or clinic appointment in any other way because of their medical or physical condition, is provided by G4S. The company is taking over from NSL whose contract expires on 30 June.

 G4S’s performance will be measured against a Patient Charter, developed by people who use patient transport services in Kent and Medway. There are tighter timescale targets for picking up and dropping off patients, and for how long they spend in transit.

 Patients have been involved in preparations for the start of the new service and in making it easier for the PTS eligibility criteria tobe applied in a completely fair and consistent way. 

The bookings line is a freephone number open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. G4S started taking and making calls from 20 June for appointments from 1 July onwards.

 Until 30 June, the bookings line number will remain 08432 241 888. from 1 July, the bookings line number will be 0800 096 0211.

 All bookings made with NSL for dates from 1 July onwards are being transferred to G4S and patients are being phoned to personally reassure them of this.

 For further information about the new patient transport service in Kent and Medway, including alternatives for people who are not eligible for patient transport, please visit www.km-pts.co.uk

 

                • What you need to do to ask for Personal Independence Payment which has replaced Disability Living Allowance for people between 16 and 65
                • You have to phone the benefits people at the DWP. Call them on 0800 917 2222 orText phone 0800 917 7777 From Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and tell them you would like Personal Independence Payment
              • When you phone the benefits people to ask for Personal Independence Payment you will need to give them some information about you.This is what you will need to tell them

                 

                • Your name, address and phone number.
                • Your National Insurance number. This is a number most people get when they are 16. You may have a National Insurance Card. It has the number on it.
                • The day, month and year you were born.
                • Where you were born.
                • Your bank or building society account details.
                • Who your doctor is or other health people you see.
                • If you have been in hospital or a care home.
                • If you have been in another country for a long time.
                • If you have a learning disability or something else you may need support with.
                • How you want to be paid if you get Personal Independence Payment

                 

                At the end of the call the person will ask you to say if you have given them true information.You can ask any questions.If you can’t answer the questions on the phone you can ask them to

                • send you a form to fill in later
                • come round and visit to help you fill in the form.
                Or someone can phone for you if you like although you must be prsent at the time

                The benefits people will send you a form to fill in if they think you could get Personal Independence Payment

                The form will ask you some questions about your disability and health. Say as much as you can about

                • what help you need to do things
                • who you need help from
                • how long it takes you to do things.
                • what would happen if you had a seizure whilst doing these things

                You can ask for help to fill in this form from people you know well like your family or a support worker

              • You have 1 month to send the form back from the date it was sent to you and will need to tell the DWP if you need more time.You can also send other information back with your form. This could be something like a letter giving evidence of how your disability affects you in your daily life.

            • You will usually have to meet with a health person such as a nurse or paramedic. This health person you meet will ask you questions about your disability.They will talk to you about what help you need with

              • doing everyday things
              • getting around.They may ask to do some checks on your body. They must ask you if this is OK first You can have someone with you if you like.

              The meeting with the health person may be at your home or somewhere else.You must go to the meeting if you want to get Personal Independence Payment.

              The benefits people at the DWP will decide if you can get Personal Independence Payment

              They will look at what you say and what other people like the health people say about you.They will look at how much help you need to do things every day and to get around.

              They will send you a letter to say if you can get Personal Independence Payment or not.If they say no, they may call you to tell you why.

              It is best to write them a letter to say why you are not happy.with their decision. 

              You have 1 month to do this from when they told you their decision.They will look at their decision again 

              If you are unhappy with the new decision you can ask for someone else to look at it. 

              This will be someone who does not work for the DWP but someone from the Appels Tribunal. When someone looks at the decision again for you it is called an appeal.

               You must ask for this within 1 month of the new decision Ask us or someone such as  Citizens Advice Bureau  for help if you are not sure. 

               

              • ESA - making a claim

                Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a UK benefit for people of working age, who cannot work or who have 'limited capability for work' due to sickness or disability, and who are not getting Statutory Sick Pay.

                Who can claim ESA?

                You may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you are between 16 years old and state pension age, and your epilepsy or other medical condition or disability affects your ability to work. This may apply to some people with epilepsy. You can apply for ESA if you work but do not get Statutory Sick Pay, if you are self-employed or unemployed, or a student on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. ESA replaces Incapacity Benefit and Income Support, so people on these benefits will be contacted about ESA.

                Types of ESA

                According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), ESA aims to give you financial support if you're unable to work, and personalised help so that you can work if you're able to. There are two types of ESA:

                • contributory ESA for people who have paid enough national insurance contributions; and
                • income-related ESA for people who have a low income and low (or no) savings.

                A person may be awarded either contributory ESA, or income-related ESA, or both depending on their situation.

                People who receive ESA will be placed either in the 'work-related activity' group (where you have to do some work-related activities) or in the 'support group' (where you do not have to do any work-related activities). If you are in the work-related activity group, and get contribution-based ESA, these payments will last for one year only.

                Applying for ESA

                The quickest way to apply for ESA is by phone:

                • telephone: 0800 055 6688 or Welsh language telephone: 0800 012 1888; or
                • textphone: 0800 023 4888 (these numbers are free from a UK landline; mobile charges vary).

                Or you can fill in an ESA1 claim form online at www.gov.uk (opens new window) and print it out to take it to your local Job Centre.
                You will be asked for information such as your national insurance number, your doctor’s name and address, and your bank account details. You also need to send in a medical certificate (also called a ‘doctor’s note’ or ‘fit note’).
                Visit www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance (opens new window) for more information.

                The assessment phase

                Once you have claimed by phone or by filling in an ESA1 form, you will enter the ‘assessment phase’ of ESA while a decision is being made about your claim. This is for 13 weeks (or more as this process is currently delayed in some areas), and during this time you will receive a ‘basic allowance’ which is currently:

                • up to £57.35 a week if you’re aged under 25; or
                • up to £72.40 a week if you’re aged 25 or over.

                To continue receiving this allowance during the assessment phase, you will be asked to provide further ‘fit notes’ from your doctor. To check that the DWP has received your fit note, you can put your mobile phone number on the top right corner of your note. The DWP will text you to say it has been received, and aim to do this within seven days.

                The work capability assessment

                During the assessment phase you will be asked to go through a ‘work capability assessment’ to decide two things:

                • Firstly, whether you have ‘limited capability for work’ and are eligible for ESA. If it is decided you can work, you will be turned down for ESA, but can claim Job Seeker’s Allowance instead.
                • Secondly, whether you can do ‘work-related activities’ such as attending courses or applying for jobs, which will place you into the ‘work-related activity group’. If it is decided that you cannot do these things, you will be placed into the ‘support group’, which means you receive ESA without needing to do ‘work-related activity’.

                Limited capability for work questionnaire

                As part of the ‘work capability assessment’, most people will be asked to complete a second form called the ‘Limited capability for work questionnaire’ (the ESA50 form). This form is long and asks a lot of questions about how your condition affects your ability to do everyday tasks. To give the assessors a full picture, you need to answer each question fully (do not just tick the Yes/No boxes), giving clear and specific details about your ability to do each task, how often you are unable to do a task (if this varies) and why, and any help that you need to do tasks.
                You need to return your completed form within four weeks.

                See our guide completing benefit forms for more information.

                Face-to-face medical assessment

                In some cases, a decision about ESA is made on the basis of the information received on the forms. However, most people will also be asked to attend a face-to-face medical assessment with a healthcare professional (an ‘assessor’). You will be told when and where to attend the medical assessment, and you can claim back your travel expenses for getting there. You can take someone with you, such as a friend, family member, social worker or other professional who is involved in your care. It is important that you attend the medical, otherwise you may lose your claim for ESA.

                At the medical, the assessor will compare what you wrote on your ESA50 questionnaire with what you can do, and what you tell them, on the day. They will ask you questions about your physical and mental abilities and your understanding of your abilities. They may also give you a physical examination.

                What happens next

                The assessor will send their report to a DWP decision-maker, who will then decide whether you can claim ESA and whether you will be in the ‘work-related activity group’ or the ‘support group’. If you are placed in the ‘work-related activity group’, you may then be asked to have a ‘work-focused interview’ with a Jobcentre Plus personal adviser, to produce an action plan for what you can do to get a job. If you do not attend the work-focused interviews or other work-related activities, your ESA basic allowance may be cut.

                What if my claim is unsuccessful?

                If you are not awarded ESA, the DWP will contact you to tell you this. If you want the DWP to look at this again (particularly if your situation has changed) you can challenge their decision, by asking for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ within one month of the date of the decision.

                The DWP will look again at your situation and send you a second decision, called a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’. This could say that the first decision still stands, or that you have been placed into a different group and are to receive a different level of ESA benefit. The notice will say whether you can appeal against this second decision.

                If you want to appeal, you need to do this within one month of the date on the mandatory reconsideration decision letter that you have received. If you intend to appeal, it is recommended that you ask for expert advice from an organisation offering independent benefits advice, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or DIAL UK.

                See our guide benefit decisions and appeals for more information.

                For more information about ESA, visit www.adviceguide.org.uk, www.benefitsandwork.co.uk or www.disabilityrightsuk.org (all open in new window).

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