19 January 2011

A Benefits and Work member has obtained further information about when incapacity benefit claimants who are currently exempt from the personal capability assessment are likely to be assessed for employment and support allowance.

Last month we reported that the DWP had decided that claimants who are exempt from the personal capability assessment for incapacity benefit, or who have serious, lifelong conditions and have not had their claim reviewed for many years, would all be given the same nominal review date.  (See:  Exempt claimants ESA migration date fudge).

However, the DWP would not disclose what that date would be.  Benefits and Work can now disclose that exempt claimants and those without a review date will begin being reassessed by March 2012.

According to a DWP spokesperson:

“We expect those with exempt or 'in the longer term' status on their incapacity benefit prognosis review status, to begin their journey within the first 12 months of reassessment - it is not possible to be precise at this point as there are various factors that will impact the review date such as geographical variations. All customers will be contacted in advance to provide them will information about when and how their reassessment will take place.”

With the first ESA50 forms due to be sent out to claimants in March 2011, this means that all exempt claimants can expect to receive their form not later than March 2012. with the majority getting them much sooner.  Given that the movement of incapacity claimants to ESA is intended to take three years, this means that exempt claimants will be some of the first to be reassessed.


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