Work Capability Assessment
You may find this section helpful if you have put in a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use a test called the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to decide whether you can claim this benefit. This section covers what the WCA is and what you can expect to happen.
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 are too unwell to 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 how your illness affects your ability to work.
- It is important to give lots of information about how your illness affects you.
- You may also need to go to a medical assessment to explain how your symptoms or condition affect your life and ability to work.
- If the DWP decide you are well enough to work you can not continue to get ESA.
- You have 1 month to appeal decisions you are unhappy with.
- If the DWP decide you are not well enough to work you will either be placed in 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 renewed again.
- If you are in the work related activity group you will have to take part in the work programme. This is when you have to attend work focussed interviews in order to keep getting your benefit.
- These interviews are to help you think about how you may get back to work.
This section covers:
- Can I claim ESA?
- How do I fill in the health questionnaire?
- Will I have to go for a medical assessment?
- What happens next?
- The support group
- The work related activity group (‘WRAG’)
- Evidence letter for ESA claims
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.
These pages are created by the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service. Last reviewed in April 2015. Next review April 2016.
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