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Incapacity benefit decisions
You can no longer make a new claim or a linked claim for incapacity benefit or income support as incapable of work. Most people now have to claim employment and support allowance (ESA) or universal credit (UC) instead.
You can find out a lot more about making an effective ESA or UC claim here.
You don't need to know anything about Social Security Commissioners or their decisions in order to successfully pursue an appeal against a decision that you are capable of work.
However, welfare rights workers and some claimants do sometimes include decisions in their appeal submissions. Commissioners' decisions are binding on tribunals, so a relevant one can be very useful.
For example, if a commissioner holds that, for the purposes of incapacity for work, chronic fatigue syndrome should be regarded as both a physical and mental health condition then tribunals must consider both the physical and the mental health test when deciding whether a claimant with CFS/ME passes the personal capability assessment.
This could be very important in deciding whether the claimant scores sufficient points to pass the test of incapacity for work.
Often it's not so straightforward, however. Sometimes different commissioners may come to completely opposite conclusions and it's then up to a tribunal to decide which commissioner they will follow. Or the facts of the case may be materially different from yours. Or the decision may be very helpful in some regards, but actually quite damaging to your case in others, so you may not want to alert the tribunal to it.
Find out more
If you want to know more, there's a brief section on using commissioners decisions in our guide to The Best Possible Support for Clients with DLA and AA Appeals which can be downloaded by all Benefits and Work members. (We'll be adding similar information to the incapacity for work appeals guide soon).
We've published the full text of over 160 incapacity for work commissioners' decisions on the site. We haven't written summaries of them - though we explain where to find summaries in the guide mentioned above. Instead, however, we've done our best to make it possible for you to search the full text of the decisions - something that isn't possible anywhere else on the internet.
How to search
If, for example, if you want to find any incapacity for work decisions relating to epilepsy then simply type the word epilepsy into the search box above and click on Go.
When the search results appear, choose 'Section/category' from the ordering drop down list and click on Go again.
All of the incapacity decisions will be grouped together in one place - though not necessarily at the start of the search results - they will begin with the letters CIB or CSIB.
If you want to use a decision for a hearing, however, make sure you follow the link to the commissioners website that appears at the top of every decision we publish. Print off the official copy from that link because it will be formatted in the same way as the original decision, whereas ours are just plain text.