Work Capability Assessment
You may find this section 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 section 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 an ESA50 questionnaire. 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 ESA50.
- 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.
Please 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 your health questionnaire.
This section covers:
- What is the Work Capability Assessment?
- How do I fill in the health questionnaire?
- Will I have to go for a medical assessment?
- What happens next?
- What is the support group?
- What is the work related activity group (WRAG)?
- Sample evidence letter for ESA claims
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice and Information Service. Last reviewed in March 2017. Next reviewed March 2020.
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