Work capability assessment (WCA)

You may find this page helpful if you are claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC) with a limited capability for work element. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use a test called the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to decide if you can claim these benefits. This page covers what the WCA is and what you can expect to happen.


  • To get ESA the DWP must decide you are too unwell to work. They do this by asking you to complete a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
  • The DWP will send you a health questionnaire. You may hear this called an ESA50 or UC50. It asks questions about how your illness affects your ability to work.
  • It is important to give lots of information about how your illness affects you in the health questionnaire.
  • You will probably need to go to a medical assessment to see how your condition affects your life and ability to work.
  • If the DWP decide you are well enough to work you will not get ESA.
  • You have 1 month to appeal decisions you are unhappy with.
  • If you get ESA you will be in the work related activity group (WRAG) or the support group (SG).
  • If you are in the WRAG you have to go to the work programme to keep getting your benefit.
  • This programme is to help you think about how you may get back to work.
  • If you are in the SG you don’t have to take part in any more interviews or assessments until your claim has to be renewed.

We know that money and mental health problems often go hand in hand. That’s why Rethink Mental Illness, as part of Mental Health UK, have set up a new website. It will help you understand, manage and improve your mental and financial health. You can find a wide range of information to help you with your benefits.


Visit the Mental Health & Money Advice site now 

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