The DWP has announced that some claimants will no longer have to have repeat work capability assessments (WCAs) in order to continue receiving employment and support allowance (ESA) or universal credit.
The new rules apply to claimants who have to attend a WCA from 29 September 2017.
You will not have to be reassessed if:
You are in the support group for ESA or have limited capability for work-related activity for UC. (So, you will not be covered if are in the work-related activity group for ESA or you are a UC claimant who has limited capability for work); and
You have a severe, lifelong disability, illness or health condition; and
You are unlikely to ever be able to move into work.
The DWP say that “Claimants will be told if they will not be reassessed following their WCA”.
This suggests that even claimants who are going to be exempt from further WCAs will have to have at least one more, though there is the possibility that it will be done only on paper and not require a face-to-face assessment.
However, no specific conditions are being named. Indeed, the criteria are so broad that there will be a huge amount of discretion to include or exclude claimants based on the opinion of a health professional who may have little or no knowledge of the effects of a claimant’s condition.
Benefits and Work is attempting to obtain the guidance given to health professionals in relation to exempting claimants from further WCAs.