Registered Charity No. 1105947
ESA and the Work Capability Assessment - the rules
Introduction and background
Thousands of people in Bradford District receive Incapacity Benefit and thousands more claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA). The government is using the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to re-assess everyone on Incapacity Benefit. A private healthcare company called Atos use this test to assess whether people are 'fit for work' and send reports to the DWP. The WCA is also the test used to assess new claims for ESA.
Local advice centres help thousands of sick and disabled people who have problems with their sickness benefits. Many of them have had their benefits wrongly stopped. If you work with sick or disabled people of working age, you can play a vital role in helping them to understand the assessment process, ensuring that they explain their health problems fully and get independent advice if they have problems.
IMPORTANT! Filling in the ESA 50 Questionnaire
If you are helping someone to fill in the ESA50 questionnaire (which asks people to describe how their illness or disability affects their day to day life), you really need to look at the 'WCA main test activities and descriptors'. Click here to go to a factsheet published by Disability Rights UK.
This document gives all the detailed rules that are used to assess what someone can and cannot do. But the ESA50 form does NOT ask questions about all these rules - so you could easily misrepresent the difficulties you experience if you do not also look at the 'WCA main test activities and descriptors'. Click here to see document.
Note: it is a good idea to read through the slides from the ANTP Training course (click here) to help you understand the process and the rules.
Where to find more detailed and updated material.
You can find more detailed and regularly updated information about sickness and disability benefits on the Advice Guide website published by Citizens Advice
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