After years of refusing to do so, the DWP have finally bowed to pressure and published statistics showing the outcome of work capability assessments (WCAs) for universal credit (UC).  The figures show that the proportion placed in the support group for UC and for employment and support allowance (ESA) are virtually identical at around 65%.  

UC WCA outcomes

The figures released by the DWP cover the period from April 2019 to March 2023.

They reveal that at March 2023, 1.7 million people were on UC health compared to 1.3 million a year earlier.

In March 2023, more than a quarter (29%) of people on UC had a health condition or disability restricting their ability to work – up 5 percentage points from March 2022

1.9 million UC WCA decisions have been made.

65% have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) – the UC equivalent of the support group

19% have limited capability for work (LCW),

16% had no limited capability for work and therefore are no longer on UC health,

The proportion of decisions for LCWRA remained stable at 65% in the quarter ending February 2022 and 64% in the quarter ending February 2023

Read the full UC WCA statistics

ESA UC outcomes

In the quarter to December 2022, the percentage of DWP decisions for initial WCAs falling into each category was:

65% placed in the Support Group

12% placed in the Work Related Activity Group

22% were found Fit for Work

So, the proportion going into the support group was virtually the same for ESA and the WCA.

The proportion found to have limited capability for work was lower for ESA and the proportion found fit for work was higher for ESA.

Read the full ESA WCA statistics

Why the secrecy?

The release of these figures leaves us wondering why on earth have the DWP fought to keep the UC statistics secret for so long?

There was nothing to hide, so far as we can tell.

Is it simply that the DWP fight to keep everything they possibly can hidden, because it is easier for them to work in the shadows with as little public scrutiny as possible? 

That way, we never know whether they are keeping secrets because their actions have caused real harm or simply because they always keep secrets, even when they don’t need to.

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    Jon · 5 months ago
    Compare the percentages to when Labour were in power and you will see the reason for the secrecy. 65% is a arbitary number chosen by the government to save money and not the actual real world number.
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    Teresa · 8 months ago
    Hi can someone please help me on Friday I got a capability for work assignment form but I'm in the support group and have been for years I have bad ms and a heart condition I'm so worried what's going what now I've jut turned 60
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    Keldrew · 8 months ago
    It does seem very strange. Why on earth would the DWP fight so hard not to release such ordinary figures??? Is there any way to know whether information that has been requested has been falsified or not? 
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    Phil · 8 months ago
    It's been 8 months since I submitted my last PIP. I am too scared to chase this up, just in case they take the easy option and find me fit for work instead. 
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      Andrew · 8 months ago
      @Phil Its difficult what to do in those circumstances, I have to fill in a form every so often, they've got my form as I got a text message stating so and I just leave it be. I know there is a huge back log and especially when they are migrating people to UC from ESA. The DWP has been a mess for a very long time, I could go back to the 90s and it was just as bad then, however, at least back then you could be 5 minutes late and they didn't make deductions from your benefit or stop the benefit altogether. IDS (Ian Duncan Smith) is to blame for the UC debacle as it was him that drew up the plans and people ended up homeless or heavily in debt because of slow payments or no payments. There is nothing wrong with ringing them and just asking what is happening with the application, without being pushy and you should get a pretty straight forward reply...if that's IF you can get through to them
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    Enigma2771 · 8 months ago
    I find it hard to believe those success rate figures when considering my own recent experience - having used the B&W UC and ESA guides, i worked out that i should score enough in the mobility sections to put me in the support group for cbESA, and the LCWRA group for UC (i have end stage osteoarthritis in both hips which causes extreme pain walking just a few meters. I also can't sit in an upright chair without severe pain after a short period.)  Instead though, after my phone WCA, i was found "ok to do some kind of work". I went through the Mandatory Reconsideration, and the verdict from that was "We haven't changed out opinion". My ESA has now ended, and i've got my first phone appointment with a 'work coach' next monday, so i'm expecting them to say "start applying for jobs, there's nothing wrong with you". The only reasoning in the medical report that was given was "Your hands work and you would be able to push a button on a telephone or pick up a £1 coin". So i find it hard to believe those success figures they gave to be honest.....
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      Christiian8709 · 8 months ago
      @VikingMermaid I confirm. That was also my experience. I got offered the awards just before the Tribunal. But I still dragged them to it anyways.
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      VikingMermaid · 8 months ago
      @Enigma2771 Sorry to hear that, Enigma2771.  I can't imagine how painful simply existing with your condition is, let alone trying to move around.  Following Mandatory Reconsideration (MR), are you now going to Tribunal?  I'm 99% sure I've read on here that the majority of people applying for PIP (not sure about UC/ESA) are automatically turned down following a MR, and then either get offered the award just before Tribunal, or alternately the Tribunal panel find in the individual's favour.  

      Wishing you the very best of luck.
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    Steve Owens · 8 months ago
    They have constantly told lies, from the leader down, I'm not sure that I can even trust the report to be true. Sooner they go the sooner the country can try to recover from the 13years of pain they have caused. 
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    Anon leeds · 8 months ago
    I am due to renew my pip claim but have more things to add to as I have other medical issues to add on do they get in touch to renew
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Jo · 8 months ago
      @Anon leeds Yes, you will have to complete a renewal assessment form. This is where you can add new issues. Make sure you have all your medical evidence. Good luck!
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    Elizabeth · 8 months ago
    They don’t like people being in the support group they sent me a form for  work capability. Despite my telling pip my health has deteriorated why can’t both departments communicate  also I have lost my SDP because my sister who looks after me gets carers allowance a d the people on ESA are punished for it 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Andrew · 8 months ago
      @Elizabeth Unfortunately, yes, if you have someone looking after you claiming carers allowance it will be reflected in your benefit. Its wrong very wrong. The system now is even more complicated than the old days. 
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    Rosie · 8 months ago
    Maybe it's simply so that some politicians and certain sections of the media can just continue to make unsubstantiated claims about benefit claimants, safe in the knowledge that none of their "alternative facts" can be properly scrutinised? Or I am being too cynical?
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      MrFibro · 8 months ago
      @Rosie rosie, no you are not being synical at all.  The truth is the tories are all self serving, devious, & corrupt to the core.  Hope they get a right battering at the coming by-elections.  And all by-elections, and the coming GE.  We live in a society where politicians can publicy lie in the house of commons, and to the nation, and still they're not made accountable for all their wrong doings.
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