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When will the work capability assessment take place?

Work capability assessment

In the case of universal credit, the first work capability assessment (WCA) should take place within 3 months of you providing the Department for Work and Pensions with evidence of your limited capability for work (ie a ‘fit note’ from your GP). If it is decided at this assessment that you have a limited capability for work, you may be asked to take part in further WCAs at intervals in the future to find out if the restrictions on your work-related responsibilities should remain the same.

In the case of employment and support allowance (ESA), the first WCA should take place during the 13-week ‘assessment phase’ that follows your initial claim. If it is decided at this assessment that you have a limited capability for work and can remain on ESA, you may be asked to take part in further WCAs at intervals in the future to find out whether you can still remain on ESA and, if so, whether you should remain in the same group.

Cases where only one assessment is needed

If you are getting universal credit and have a limited capability for work-related activity or are getting ESA and are in the support group, you will not have to be reassessed following your initial WCA if you:

  • have a severe, lifelong disability, illness or health condition; and
  • are unlikely to ever be able to move into work.

You will be told if you will not be reassessed following your WCA.

If your condition gets worse

If you are getting universal credit and have been assesed as having a limited capability for work (but not for work-related activity), you can request a WCA if you think that your condition has worsened to the extent that you now have a limited capability for work-related activity.

If you are getting ESA and are in the work-related activity group, you can request a WCA if you think that your condition has worsened to the extent that you should now be placed in the support group.

The DWP has published Guidance on Work Capability Assessment re-assessments

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