Work Capability Assessment
If you have applied for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because you are not well enough to work, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have to decide whether you do qualify for this benefit. The test they use to decide this is called the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). Please read the Rethink Mental Illness section on ESA for more general information about the benefit.
Starting from March 2011 until March 2014, if you are currently receiving Incapacity Benefit, Income Support (on the grounds of disability) or Severe Disablement Allowance, you will be asked to go through the WCA rather than the Personal Capability Assessment. You should receive a telephone call and letters from the DWP to explain what and why this is happening.
You may find it helpful to read this section with a copy of the ESA50 questionnaire in front of you.
- To qualify for ESA the DWP have to decide that you have limited capability for work.
- They do this by asking you to complete a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
- You will be sent an ESA50 questionnaire which asks you questions about your ability to manage everyday tasks.
- It is important to fill this in as accurately as possible; you can get help with this from an advice agency.
- You are also likely to be asked to attend a medical with a doctor or nurse contracted by the DWP.
- If the DWP decide you don’t have limited capability for work, you cannot continue to get ESA.
- It is possible to appeal this decision but you only have 1 month to do so.
- If you do have limited capability for work you could be placed into the support group or the work related activity group.
- If you are placed in the support group you don’t have to take part in any further interviews or assessments until your claim is up for renewal.
- If you are in the work related activity group you will have to take part in 6 work focused interviews.
- These interviews are to explore your options for getting back to work.
- Your benefit is not stopped if you do not find a job or get back into work.
Tip - Don’t feel like you have to read this section all at once. Take your time. Keep coming back to it as you work through the ESA50 questionnaire.
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Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 10am - 2pm, not including bank holidays