What happens after the Work Capability Assessment?
The healthcare professional who carried out your medical assessment will send their report to the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP). A DWP decision maker will review the report and decide whether you should get a benefit or not. They will make one of the following decisions:
- You have limited capability for work (LCW)
- You have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA)
- You do not have limited capability for work
What does my decision mean?
1. You have limited capability for work (LCW)
This means that the DWP have decided that you may not be able to look for work now. You will get:
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or
- Universal Credit (UC)
You will continue to get whichever benefit you are on. You will not be forced to claim UC if you are already on ESA.
You will not have to look for work, but you may still have to do work-related activities. This could include:
- Going to work-focused interviews with a job coach to help you prepare for future work.
- Undertaking some work-related training with the aim of helping you find future work.
Whilst you do not have to look for work, your work coach could refer you for a new Work Capability Assessment if they feel you have carried out enough work-related activity which would make you fit to look for work.
2. You have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA)
This means that the DWP have decided you are not able to work now or in the future. You will get:
- Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) or
- Universal Credit (UC)
You will not be asked to look for work and you will not have to do any work-related activities such as training or interviews.
If you are claiming New Style ESA or Contribution-based ESA, you will be allowed to remain on this until:
- Your claim is reassessed or
- You move onto UC under natural migration
3. You do not have limited capability for work
This means that the DWP have decided you are able to work and can look for work.
You may still be able to claim:
- Some Universal Credit (UC) without the limited capability for work element
- If you get Universal Credit (UC) you will not receive any extra amounts of UC for your mental health condition.
- New Style Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) if you are within the first 6 months of your claim for New Style ESA. This could help if you ask for mandatory reconsideration in the future.
You will not be able to claim:
- Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
If you undertook a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for ESA and the DWP decides you do not have limited capability for work (i.e. you are fit for work), you cannot claim for ESA. If you have been getting ESA during your WCA, your benefit will be stopped.
My mental health condition has grown worse since the DWP decision. Can I get ESA?
If your mental health condition has grown worse since the decision, you might be able to reclaim ESA if:
- Your mental health condition has worsened to the extent that you now meet the Limited Capability for Work conditions and
- This if your first failure to obtain Limited Capability for Work (LCW) or
- This is your first failure to obtain LCW since a previous successful LCW decision
Speak to a welfare and benefits adviser if your mental health condition has grown worse and you want to try and get ESA again. You can find information on free welfare and benefits advisers through Citizens Advice.
Learn more about Employment & Support Allowance here.
Learn more about Universal Credit and Mental Health here.