Reassessments for claimants in the support group for employment and support allowance (ESA) or who have limited capability for work-related activity (LCWRA) for universal credit (UC) have not stopped and will continue until 2025, the DWP has now clarified.

The department caused enormous confusion when it published its response to the work capability assessment (WCA) consultation last month.  The document repeatedly suggested that current LCWRA/support group claimants would never be reassessed again.

It included phrases such as:

“almost all people who are currently assessed as having LCWRA will never face a WCA reassessment again”

 “no one currently assessed as having LCWRA will face a WCA reassessment, save in some exceptional circumstances”

 “The commitment that no one with an existing LCWRA decision today will be reassessed, except in a few limited circumstances, means that they can try work without fear of losing their LCWRA financial support.”

This last claim turns out to be especially misleading and could lead to claimants losing their LCWRA status if taken at face value.

Because, in a response dated 15 December 2023 to a freedom of information request asking for clarification of whether claimants with LCW or LCWRA would be subject to reassessment before 2025, the DWP stated:

“We have already resumed WCA reassessments on a limited basis for existing LCW and LCWRA claimants, now that we have recovered some capacity following Covid response measures that focused on processing initial claims to ensure eligible claimants were brought into payment.

 “Up until 2025 when the new WCA changes announced at Autumn Statement in November 2023 are introduced, WCA reassessments will continue as normal for both the LCW and LCWRA  groups depending on circumstances, including prognosis period and subject to available capacity in the system.”

It’s worth noting the phrase “now that we have recovered some capacity” which strongly suggests that the DWP and the assessment companies still only have limited resources for dealing with reassessments, in addition to new claims.

And, in the following paragraph, the same caveat is repeated “depending on circumstances, including prognosis period and subject to available capacity in the system”.  Because they have only limited capacity, the inference is that claimants whose condition is unlikely to improve are less likely to have a reassessment.

Though given the DWP’s optimism when it comes to the prognosis for any given condition, the reassessment net could still be cast quite wide.

The reality is though, that the vast majority of current LCWRA/support group claimants will almost certainly be spared a further reassessment, if the DWP follows through with its current plans to end reassessments for existing claimants with LCWRA in 2025.

But that will be scant reassurance to individual claimants, who can never be certain that they will not be one of the unlucky  ones.

Do remember, though, that if you are called for a reassessment, it will be under the current rules, as would any subsequent appeal even if it takes place after any new regulations are introduced.  And the success rate for reassessments remains very high.

Figures from December 2022 show that the percentage of DWP decisions for repeat WCAs was:

  • 83% of outcomes for Support Group
  • 13% of outcomes were for Work Related Activity Group
  • 4% of outcomes were found Fit for Work

So, the probability of the DWP undertaking a mass reassessment programme on current claimants before the proposed changes to the WCA, as some people fear, is close to zero.

You can read the full freedom of information request and the DWP response here.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Philip · 15 days ago
    Hi I am terminally ill and on universal credit can I also claim this 
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      A · 15 days ago
      @Philip I don't know what you mean by "this".

      If you mean it by support group/ LCWRA, you won't need to have a WCA interview/assessment. Regulations provide that a person who is terminally ill is automatically treated as having limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA).
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    Alison · 18 days ago
    I was looking to see ‘if’ I can work a few hours a day/week whilst on lwcra. I’m afraid that if I try to see if I am able to do some kind of work I’ll lose my benefits. 

    There seems little information about this and how to go about it. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Jack · 4 days ago
      @Alison You can work up to 16 hours per week and. It over. And can only earn a certain amount a month if you go over then you will be deemed fit for work and it will be took of you.
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    keepingitreal · 24 days ago
    I hear you, The Dog Mother. Sorry you're suffering, but I see you get what I was saying. Far be it from me to predict the outcome of your wca, but if you got through on paper based last four times, that looks as if they're going to accept your claim. At least any MR or appeal will be under current criteria. Hope your upcoming hospital assessments go the way you want. 

    Just a thought, because I don't know your situation, but any chance you could ask (if - let's say when - you get a favourable outcome for this wca, or during a f2f or phone assessment), for there to be no future assessments for you, based on the Severe Conditions Criteria? Seems to me if you've got through on paper based so many times they shouldn't be putting you through this any more. Something you could check out with an adviser if any of your conditions qualify as lifelong/incurable. 
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      The Dog Mother · 24 days ago
      @keepingitreal To be honest keepingitreal I'm too afraid to ask anything. 
      What I can tell you is this, A few of my conditions have no cure, some go back to childhood. They know this,but it doesn't seen to matter, It's not like my life isn't impacted daily because it is. I've more than one thing going on every day,it's relentless. 
      I'm exhausted and in pain no matter what I do,or how well I try to manage things.
      How clean my lifestyle is etc makes little difference. Then they come along once more and my MH plummets. 
      I know the fear of reassessments is always there ,for me anyway.But the actual form arriving (as it does for most of us) sends me into a downward spiral. It's hardly fair that they make your health worse. It's illogical that in assessing your capabilities for work they damage you more. The mind boggles.
      Take care. X
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    keepingitreal · 25 days ago
    If you're currently in esa support or in lcwra, surely it's best not to be reassessed before the proposed changes? If you are still support/lcwra and the changes come in, ie if conservatives have passed the changes, you will never be reassessed. If the changes are not passed, ie if Labour win the election and stick to their pledge not to change wca, then reassessments will continue, even for support/lcwra, but will be under the rules in place now.

    The only advantage I can see to a reassessment before wca changes is if you went from fit or wrag/lcw to support/lcwra. A reassessment resulting in a move from support/lcwra to fit or wrag/lcw before changes to wca would mean you could be reassessed after the changes under the new criteria and find it very difficult to regain support/lcwra.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      The Dog Mother · 24 days ago
      @keepingitreal And that's my worry right now after sending in my recent WCA form.
      I'll be reassessed this time and bumped off SG. Even with new evidence and another condition and pending assessments for four diff hospital departments.
      I'm beside myself with anxiety to the point of being sick.
      Esp as my last four WCA were granted on paper based.
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    Sara · 28 days ago
    If the proposed changes come into force, ESA Support/lcwra won't be reassessed.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Sara · 25 days ago
      @A Yes, A, that's why I said 'if the proposed changes come into force'. If the proposed changes come into force, by whatever means, with whatever party, whenever, those in ESA Support/lcwra now won't be reassessed,, under the proposed changes. If the proposals change, by whatever means, with whatever party, whenever, we will have to adjust to and plan for  that. 

      We can only work with the information we have.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      A · 25 days ago
      @Sara That's only if the Tories get re-elected. If the Labour get elected, the reassessment will continue to take place at regular intervals of time as usual.
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    rookie · 28 days ago
    A, you seem to have changed your stance (" I think it's better to be reassessed this year, rather waiting till the new changes come into force, or believing that the Labour would offer better treatment, which I heavily doubt")  Any reason?
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      A · 25 days ago
      @rookie No, I haven't changed my stance at all. What I'm saying is that although it's more than likely that the Labour will win at the next GE, it's better to be assessed before 2025 to be safe both from what Labour might come up with and in case the Tories get re-elected, as from history we cannot automatically rule out a Tory win. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      The Dog mother · 27 days ago
      @rookie Here's the thing with that, if they only give you a year after reassement then you will still be reassesd in 2025. Which is my worry right now as I've sent my wca back recently after a three yr award.
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    reasonstobecheerful · 28 days ago
    "If you hope better things would come from the Labour under the dictatorship of Keir Starmer, you would be disappointed big time"

     Right, A, what?



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    rookie · 28 days ago
    "....according to Labour. .." Really, A?
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      A · 25 days ago
      @rookie Yes, according to Labour. That's what they've said. Make no mistake, you're daydreaming if you're expecting better treatment from the Labour Party, as you'll be disappointed big time.
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    ABC · 1 months ago
    Hi. Does anyone know if the 2025 plans for no reassessments will also apply to
     those on esa who are in the support group?
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      A · 1 months ago
      @ABC I don't think the current Tory's plan for no reassessment will ever materialise, as Labour is more than likely to win the next general election, and according to Labour, the reassessments will remain as they're currently and claimants will keep getting reassessed at regular intervals of time..
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      DEF · 1 months ago
      @ABC Yes they apply to esa support group from 2025 
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    Carol K · 1 months ago
    I think we need to start learning Rwandan because I fear we will be next! 
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    Bob · 1 months ago
    Not sure how many people will get re assessed and if it's for those on universal credit only or old legacy benefits as well. I've been told different things by people. I know people on ESA who have had notes on their UC journal online saying they won't be assessed again. So don't know how it's working.  If you have a condition that is unlikely to change then I don't see point of re assessing that person.   It's stressful waiting to see if u get the dreaded envelope in post but don't stress 
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      The Dog Mother · 1 months ago
      @dmj. @dmj I'm absolutely paranoid now. I even dreamt they were watching me and had listening equipment in my home.
      I've had about 5f2f assessments for Esa, then 4paper based.(approx don't rem exactly)
      So if I get something through the post, I'll know I'm up for either another f2f or phone assessment before I even open it. 
      Both of which I will completely struggle with. 
      I've proof of postage, too. 
      If they lose it, then they should be going on previous evidence you sent and not put the onus on you.
      It's absolutely ridiculous.
      They play with our lives. 
      Mine only went back 5days ago.The waiting is excruciating and I know I'll have some wait yet.
      Most of my conditions are decades long or since childhood, I'm 58 now. Something that really irks me is sending all your medical stuff to God knows who, it's meant to be between you and your gp or consultants, not for some untrained Herbert to scrutinise, laugh at and trivialise.
      Every day I wonder if there's anything better coming for us. 
      I'm exhausted, afraid,worried and dragged down.
      I hope for the best results for us all.
      It's beyond unfair what we constantly go through.
      And if these changes come in ,I do not know what will become of the majority of us.Lets hope its dead in the water before it ever reaches it potential for harm. Best wishes and luck. X


    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      dmj. · 1 months ago
      @The Dog Mother Hi so am I. Condition unchanged and never will be. My form went back guaranteed delivery, they have now sent me a letter saying form not received. Glad I've kept proof of postage. This is so stressful. They informed me via text at 8am Christmas morning that I'm being reassessed. I’ve had this health problem since I was 37 I’m now 55. Hospital has said it will never change. Fifth assessment. I sincerely hope you get a good result. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      The Dog Mother · 1 months ago
      @Bob I'm being reassessed right now...In support group,have been for years. Looks like anyones fair game. I've many conditions that won't change. I've had them lifelong, one or two no cure for .. tough luck on me. 
      The sensible thing would be not to reassess those who will never get a Job,and that's staring then in the face. But your name pops up and suddenly the life sucking wca booklet is there threatening your MH and exacerbating your physical conditions. But hey, it's all part of the plan to sink us lower into the mire.So will struggle,we fret, we cry with frustration and we get it done, we source as much medical  'evidence' as we can, send it all off and hope beyond all hope we get through,we get to breathe again, .... until the next time.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    reasonstobecheerful · 1 months ago
    My first attempt to post this got scrambled, so here goes....

    Congrats for getting your forms done, The Dogmother and good luck!

    Difficult not to jump to the conclusion that dwp are trying to get claimants off lcwra/support before criteria changes proposed for 2025, but remember, until the changes are passed into law, dwp will have to go by the current wca criteria, as will MRs and appeal tribunals relating to any wca carried out before the criteria changes.

    So, peeps, if you are lcwra/support now, you will remain in lcwra/support unless dwp can prove your capability has improved. Keep gathering any new evidence you can of prevailing conditions and deterioration, so you have the best chance of getting through if you're picked for a reassessment.

    I'm as freaked as the next guy, but we have to get our act together and fight the persecution.

    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      The Dog Mother · 1 months ago
      @Pam And where are all these jobs? About 20% of jobs for  a period of 6 mths last year  where either remote or flexible, which are two different things.If someone with mobility issues might be able to work remotely,flexibility makes no difference to those people.
      This nonsense they say that disabled people "would like to work" does not mean they can.
      I'd like to be a millionaire but will I ever be? Wanting to work and being physically and-or mentally able are poles apart.
      With AI rearing it's ugly head even more jobs will be lost.
      I don't pretend to know it all. But I'm trying to understand what may lie ahead the best I can.
      Their deep seated hatred for us is palpable. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Pam · 1 months ago
      @reasonstobecheerful What worries me is that they might turf everyone off just before the changes so that any appeals will come under the new rules. They're coming for our blood, I don't think it is for votes, they genuinely hate that we exist.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      The Dogmother · 1 months ago
      @reasonstobecheerful Absolutely. I've done all I can. Ive gathered pip reports ,new evidence,some older suff, and was as Frank as possible re my conditions, or at least my s-inlaw was as she filled it all in, added pages etc,read them off to me and kept asking if things imo were accurate. She's pretty savvy with her understanding of what I go through as she helps me no end.Thank you reasonstobecheerful for your bolstering words and good wishes. All we ask for is a fair chance. X
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    reasonstobecheerful · 1 months ago
    Congrats for getting your forms done, The Dogmother and good luck! 

    Difficult not to jump to the concluscriteria changes in 2025, but remember, until the changes are passed into law, dwp will have to go by the current wca criteria as will MRs and appeal tribunals relating to any wca carried out before the criteria changes.
    lcwra/support now,lcwra/support. Keep gathering any new evidence you can of prevailing conditions and deterioration, so you have the best chance of getting through if you're picked for a reassessment.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    The Dogmother · 1 months ago
    Sorry I hit send by accident..So I'll finish my comment. anyway, the lady in the PO told my sis in law whrn she went to post my esa forms she has seen loads of people with them over the past few weeks. Hmmmmm. Most peculiar 
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    The Dogmother · 1 months ago
    Lady in postoffice told my sister in law when she posts my esa 
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    Sara · 1 months ago
    Ok, one more try -  for another petition, check out the first of joe's posts (4 days ago) in B&W News 'Almost 9 million claimant bank accounts to be put under continuous surveillance'
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sara · 1 months ago
    As in this:

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    Sara · 1 months ago
    This too:

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    CC · 1 months ago
    I think the DWP need to pull the article and reword it, as I interpreted it in the same way as it meant the changes announced were taking place from the date of the announcement.  I expect given the DWP, it was worded like this deliberately, I wonder how many will fall foul of the highlighted example in the article.
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