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Last updated:
12/12/2017

Will I need a Work Capability Assessment to claim benefits?

Assessment for limited capability for work-related activity

  1. Overview
  2. What is the Work Capability Assessment?
  3. How do I fill in the health questionnaire?
  4. Will I have to go for a medical assessment?
  5. What happens next?
  6. What is the support group or the limited capability for work-related activity element?
  7. What is the work-related activity group (WRAG)?
  8. Health questionnaire descriptors
  9. Assessment for limited capability for work-related activity
  10. Sample letter
  11. Next steps

As part of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will assess if you have limited capability for work. They will also look at whether you have ‘limited capability for work-related activity’.

If they agree you meet one of the criteria below then you will go into the support group of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or you will get the ‘limited capability for work-related activity’ element of Universal Credit.  

You can read more about this in theWhat is the support group or the limited capability for work-related activity element?’ section.

Learning Tasks

Cannot learn how to complete a simple task, such as setting an alarm clock, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder.

 

Awareness of Hazard

Reduced awareness of everyday hazards, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder, leads to a significant risk of:

  • Injury to self or others, or
  • Damage to property or possessions

Such that they require supervision for the majority of the time to maintain safety.

 

Initiating and completing personal action (which means planning, organisation, problem solving, prioritising or switching tasks)

Cannot, due to impaired mental function, reliably initiate or complete at least two sequential personal actions.

Coping with change

Cannot cope with any change, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder, to the extent that day-to-day life cannot be managed.

Coping with social engagement, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder

Engagement in social contact is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the individual.

Appropriateness of behaviour with other people, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder

Has, on a daily basis, uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace.

Conveying food or drink to the mouth

  • Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving physical assistance from someone else,
  • Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without repeatedly stopping, experiencing breathlessness or severe discomfort,
  • Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s physical presence, or
  • Owing to a severe disorder of mood or behaviour, fails to convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving:
    • Physical assistance from someone else, or
    • Regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s presence.

Chewing or swallowing food or drink

  • Cannot chew or swallow food or drink,
  • Cannot chew or swallow food or drink without repeatedly stopping, experiencing breathlessness or severe discomfort,
  • Cannot chew or swallow food or drink without repeatedly receiving regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s presence, or
  • Owing to a severe disorder of mood or behaviour, fails to:
    • Chew or swallow food or drink; or
    • Chew or swallow food or drink without regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s presence.

Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. What is the Work Capability Assessment?
  3. How do I fill in the health questionnaire?
  4. Will I have to go for a medical assessment?
  5. What happens next?
  6. What is the support group or the limited capability for work-related activity element?
  7. What is the work-related activity group (WRAG)?
  8. Health questionnaire descriptors
  9. Assessment for limited capability for work-related activity
  10. Sample letter
  11. Next steps

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