-A A +A
Select color visibility that suits you Basic theme Dark theme Darker theme Text only

The work capability assessment

Make a donation and support this factsheet

Disability Rights UK Factsheet F71

1. What is the work capability assessment?

The ‘work capability assessment’ is central to employment and support allowance (ESA). It has two parts. The first part, the ‘limited capability for work assessment’, finds out whether or not you can remain on ESA (see section 2 below). The second part, the ‘limited capability for work-related activity assessment’, finds out which of two groups you will be put in: the ‘support group’ or the ‘work-related activity group’ (see section 3 below). The group you are put in will decide the level of ESA you receive, the responsibilities you must meet to keep getting the benefit in full and whether or not your ESA award may be time-limited.

For more on ESA, see our F31 - employment and support allowance

When will it take place?

The first work capability assessment 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 work capability assessments 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.

Universal Credit

The work capability assessment is also important for the new benefit, universal credit. It finds out if you are entitled to the ‘work capability element’ and what work-related responsibilities you must meet to keep getting the benefit in full.

For more on universal credit, see our Factsheet F55 - universal credit

2. The limited capability for work assessment

The first part of the work capability assessment finds out if you have a ‘limited capability for work’ and can therefore remain on ESA. A points system is used to see how well you can carry out a range of activities, both physical and ‘mental, cognitive and intellectual’.  

Each activity is divided into different ‘descriptors’, which explain related tasks of varying degrees of difficulty. These have scores, ranging from 0 to 15 points. You score points when you are not able to perform a task described safely, to an acceptable standard, as often as you need to and in a reasonable time. You add together the highest score from each activity that applies to you. For a list of the descriptors, and the points that you get for each, see Appendix 1 below.

If you score 15 points, you qualify as having a limited capability for work and can stay on ESA. If not, you’ll need to claim jobseeker’s allowance instead, unless you challenge the decision (see 5 below).

You will be automatically treated as having a limited capability for work in the circumstances described in Appendix 2 below.

For universal credit, the same assessment is used to find out if restrictions can be applied to the work-related responsibilities you must meet to keep getting the benefit in full.

3. The limited capability for work-related activity assessment

The limited capability for work-related activity assessment is used to decide whether you are put in the ‘support group’ of claimants or the ‘work-related activity group’ (see below).

The assessment has a list of descriptors, relating to both physical and mental, cognitive or intellectual functions. If you satisfy at least one of them, you will be put in the support group of claimants. For a full list of the descriptors, see Appendix 3 below.

You will be automatically treated as having a limited capability for work-related activity in the circumstances described in Appendix 4 below.

For universal credit, the same assessment is used to find out if you are entitled to the ‘work capability amount’ and exactly what restrictions can be applied to your work-related responsibilities.

The support group

If you are put in this group, you do not have to take part in work-related activities (although you can volunteer to do so if you want). You will receive a higher rate of ESA than claimants who are put in the work-related activity group. If you are awarded contributory ESA, payment of this will not be limited to 12 months.

The work-related activity group

If you are put in this group, you have to meet strict work-related conditions to keep getting the benefit in full. This will include attending work-focused interviews and possibly taking part in work-related activities. If you are awarded contributory ESA, payment of this will be limited to 12 months.

4. How the work capability assessment is applied

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision maker looks at the information you have provided with your claim for ESA or universal credit to see, without having to make further enquiries, if there is evidence that you have a limited capability for work and for work-related activity. If the decision maker considers they do not have such evidence, they will send you a questionnaire to complete: the ‘capability for work questionnaire’ (the ‘ESA50’).

Completing the capability for work questionnaire

The capability for work questionnaire is divided up into a number of sections which relate to the activities in the ‘limited capability for work assessment’ (see section 2 above). In each case, you are asked about your ability to complete different tasks related to each activity. The tasks, and the points that you can get for each one, are listed in Appendix 1 below. Use this Appendix when you are completing the questionnaire. Note that the wording in the questionnaire is sometimes different from the wording in the Appendix (in which we use the exact wording of the law).

Each section has a space to provide more detailed information about the difficulties you face. When completing this, let them know if your ability to perform each task varies. Make it clear if you cannot perform a task repeatedly, safely or reliably or if it would take you a long time to complete it. Let them know about any pain, tiredness or discomfort you would feel completing each task.

The Disability Rights Handbook provides more detailed advice on completing the questionnaire.

The time limit for completing and returning the questionnaire is four weeks. Before you return the questionnaire, photocopy it for future reference.

Once the decision maker has received your completed questionnaire, they may decide that there is clear evidence that you have a limited capability for work (and possibly work-related activity). If not, you will be sent an appointment to attend a face-to-face assessment carried out by a healthcare professional working for the Health Assessment Advisory Service. This is operated by Maximus, the organisation delivering the assessment on behalf of the DWP.

The face-to-face assessment

The healthcare professional should have read a copy of the capability for work questionnaire that you completed. At the face-to-face assessment they will be trying to identify which descriptors apply to you with respect to both parts of the work capability assessment. They will ask you a series of questions about your daily living activities, including hobbies or leisure activities.

When answering the healthcare professional, explain your abilities as fully as you can. Tell them about any pain or tiredness you feel, or would feel, while carrying out each task, both on the day of the assessment and over time. Consider how you would feel if you had to do the same task repeatedly. Are you able to complete the task to a reasonable standard? Do you need prompting or encouragement? Let them know if there would be any risk if you tried to complete the task or if it would take you a long time to complete it. If your condition varies, let them know about the variability; and what you are like on bad days as well as on good days.

The healthcare professional may then go on to give you a physical examination.

The decisions on whether or not you have a limited capability for work and a limited capability for work-related activity will not, however, be taken by the healthcare professional. They will complete a report of the assessment, which will be sent to a DWP decision maker, who will make these two decisions.

The healthcare professional will also make recommendations as to when you should be re-tested under the work capability assessment.

Exceptional circumstances

Even if the DWP decision maker decides that you do not pass the limited capability for work assessment, they can still treat you as having passed it if one of the following ‘exceptional circumstances’ applies:

  1. You are suffering from a life threatening disease, in relation to which there is medical evidence that the disease is uncontrollable or uncontrolled by a recognised therapeutic procedure; and in the case of a disease that is uncontrolled, there is a reasonable cause for it not to be controlled by a recognised therapeutic procedure.
  2. You suffer from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and consequently there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if you were found not to have a limited capability for work. This risk should be linked to work you could realistically do according to your education or skills.  This circumstance will not apply to you if the risk could be significantly reduced by making reasonable adjustments to your workplace or by you taking medication as prescribed. 

5. Challenging ESA work capability assessment decisions

Mandatory reconsiderations

If you are refused ESA following the work capability assessment and you disagree with the decision, you can ask the DWP for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ of the decision. You can also request such a reconsideration if you are put into the work-related activity group and you think you should be in the support group (which would mean any contributory ESA would not be limited to 12 months).

You must ask for the mandatory reconsideration within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter. You can ask for a reconsideration by phone, but it is best to put your request in writing. Include in the letter your National Insurance number, the date of the disputed decision and why you believe the decision is incorrect. Keep a copy of the letter.

If it has been decided that you do not have a limited capability for work, you will not be able to get ESA during the reconsideration process. You may be able to claim jobseeker’s allowance instead. For more information on this, see our Factsheet F46 – jobseeker’s allowance.

Appealing the decision

If your reconsideration request is unsuccessful, you can then appeal to an independent tribunal. You will be sent two copies of the DWP decision: the ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’. This will provide you with details of what form you can appeal with (the SSCS1, or the NOA1(SS) in Northern Ireland) and how to get it.

When you complete the appeal form, you should list all the descriptors you think apply to you (see Appendices 1 and 3 below). The form will also ask if you want to attend an appeal hearing. You stand a much better chance of winning your case if you do. 

Appeal papers will then be sent to you. These will contain the report of the assessment that was used in making the decision. This will show you where you need to dispute it or identify where misunderstandings have occurred. Try to get medical evidence to back up your case. For example, you could get a letter from your GP confirming which descriptors they think apply to you. Send a copy of this evidence to the tribunal before your appeal hearing.

What if your condition gets worse before the appeal?

A tribunal can only look at how your condition was at the time of the decision you are appealing. To make sure you don’t miss out before the appeal is heard, tell the DWP that your condition has got worse and you would like them to look at your case again. If you have any medical evidence, send this to them, and they should arrange a new work capability assessment. If you fail this assessment, you should also appeal against the new decision (after asking for a mandatory reconsideration, as above).

6. More information

This factsheet is a basic overview of the work capability assessment. You can find out more detailed information in our Disability Rights Handbook. This and all our other publications are available from our shop. You can also place orders by contacting Disability Rights UK.

You can get help and information at your local advice centre, such as a Citizens Advice Bureau. You can get more information about where to get personal advice from our Factsheet F15 - Getting advice. All our factsheets are free to download on our website at disabilityrightsuk.org.

We have an ESA resources page on our website which includes links to regulations (via the ‘ESA claimant journey’) and the WCA Handbook (guidance for healthcare professionals who undertake the work capability assessment) and information on the migration from incapacity benefits.

The Health Assessment Advisory Service is in charge of the face-to-face assessments by healthcare professionals. For more information about the service it provides go to www.chdauk.co.uk/

Ian Greaves
24 July 2017

Was this publication useful - Yes or No?

Appendix 1: The limited capability for work assessment

To be assessed as having a limited capability for work, you need to score 15 points or more. Add together the highest score from each activity that applies to you.

The assessment takes into account your abilities when using any aid or appliance you would normally or could reasonably be expected to use.

If any task highlighted in italics applies, you will also satisfy the ‘limited capability for work-related activity assessment’ (see Appendix 3 below).

Part 1: Physical functions

Activity 1. Mobilising unaided by another person with or without a walking stick, manual wheelchair or other aid if such aid is normally or could reasonably be worn or used. 

1(a) Cannot, unaided by another person, either:
(i) mobilise more than 50 metres on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion;
or
(ii) repeatedly mobilise 50 metres within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion.
Score 15

1(b) Cannot, unaided by another person, mount or descend two steps even with the support of a handrail.  Score 9

1(c) Cannot, unaided by another person, either:
(i) mobilise more than 100 metres on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion;
or
(ii) repeatedly mobilise 100 metres within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion.
Score 9

1(d) Cannot, unaided by another person, either:
(i) mobilise more than 200 metres on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion;
or
(ii) repeatedly mobilise 200 metres within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion.
Score 6

1(e) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 2. Standing and sitting.

2(a) Cannot move between one seated position and another seated position which are located next to one another without receiving physical assistance from another person. Score 15

2(b) Cannot, for the majority of the time, remain at a work station:
(i) standing unassisted by another person (even if free to move around);
(ii) sitting (even in an adjustable chair) or
(iii) a combination of (i) and (ii)
for more than 30 minutes, before needing to move away in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion.
Score 9

2(c) Cannot, for the majority of the time, remain at a work station:
(i) standing unassisted by another person (even if free to move around);  
(ii) sitting (even in an adjustable chair); or
(iii) a combination of (i) and (ii)
for more than an hour before needing to move away in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion.
Score 6

2(d) None of the above applies Score 0

Activity 3. Reaching.

3(a) Cannot raise either arm as if to put something in the top pocket of a coat or jacket. Score 15

3(b) Cannot raise either arm to top of head as if to put on a hat. Score 9

3(c) Cannot raise either arm above head height as if to reach for something. Score 6

3(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 4. Picking up and moving or transferring by the use of the upper body and arms. 

4(a) Cannot pick up and move a 0.5 litre carton full of liquid. Score 15

4(b) Cannot pick up and move a one litre carton full of liquid. Score 9

4(c) Cannot transfer a light but bulky object such as an empty cardboard box. Score 6

4(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 5. Manual dexterity.

5(a) Cannot press a button (such as a telephone keypad) with either hand or cannot turn the pages of a book with either hand.
Score 15

5(b) Cannot pick up a £1 coin or equivalent with either hand. Score 15

5(c) Cannot use a pen or pencil to make a meaningful mark. Score 9

5(d) Cannot single-handedly use a suitable keyboard or mouse. Score 9

5(e) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 6. Making self understood through speaking, writing, typing, or other means which are normally or could reasonably be used, unaided by another person.

6(a) Cannot convey a simple message, such as the presence of a hazard. Score 15

6(b) Has significant difficulty conveying a simple message to strangers. Score 15
 
6(c) Has some difficulty conveying a simple message to strangers. Score 6

6(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 7. Understanding communication by:

(i) verbal means (such as hearing or lip reading) alone;

(ii)  non-verbal means (such as reading 16-point print or Braille) alone; or

(iii)  a combination of (i) and (ii),

using any aid that is normally or could reasonably be used, unaided  by another person.

7(a) Cannot understand a simple message, such as the location of a fire escape, due to sensory impairment. Score 15

7(b) Has significant difficulty understanding a simple message from a stranger due to sensory impairment. Score 15

7(c) Has some difficulty understanding a simple message from a stranger due to sensory impairment. Score 6

7(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 8. Navigation and maintaining safety using a guide dog or other aid if either or both are normally or could reasonably be used.

8(a) Unable to navigate around familiar surroundings, without being accompanied by another person, due to sensory impairment.  Score 15

8(b) Cannot safely complete a potentially hazardous task such as crossing the road, without being accompanied by another person, due to sensory impairment. Score 15

8(c) Unable to navigate around unfamiliar surroundings, without being accompanied by another person, due to sensory impairment. Score 9

8(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 9. Absence or loss of control whilst conscious leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or bladder, other than enuresis (bed-wetting), despite the wearing or use of any aids or adaptations which are normally or could reasonably be worn or used.

9(a) At least once a month experiences:
(i) loss of control leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or voiding of the bladder; or
(ii) substantial leakage of the contents of a collecting device, sufficient to require cleaning and a change in clothing.
Score 15

9(b) The majority of time is at risk of loss of control leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or voiding of the bladder, sufficient to require cleaning and a change in clothing, if not able to reach a toilet quickly. Score 6

9(c) Neither of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 10. Consciousness during waking moments.

10(a) At least once a week, has an involuntary episode of lost or altered consciousness resulting in significantly disrupted awareness or concentration. Score 15

10(b) At least once a month, has an involuntary episode of lost or altered consciousness resulting in significantly disrupted awareness or concentration. Score 6

10(c) Neither of the above applies. Score 0.

Part 2: Mental, cognitive and intellectual functions

Activity 11. Learning tasks.

11(a) Cannot learn how to complete a simple task, such as setting an alarm clock. Score 15

11(b) Cannot learn anything beyond a simple task, such as setting an alarm clock. Score 9

11(c) Cannot learn anything beyond a moderately complex task, such as the steps involved in operating a washing machine to clean clothes. Score 6

11(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 12. Awareness of everyday hazards (such as boiling water or sharp objects).

12(a) Reduced awareness of everyday hazards leads to a significant risk of:
(i) injury to self or others; or
(ii) damage to property or possessions
such that the claimant requires supervision for the majority of the time to maintain safety.
Score 15

12(b) Reduced awareness of everyday hazards leads to a significant risk of
(i) injury to self or others; or
(ii) damage to property or possessions
such that the claimant frequently requires supervision to maintain safety.
Score 9

12(c) Reduced awareness of everyday hazards leads to a significant risk of:
(i) injury to self or others; or
(ii) damage to property or possessions
such that the claimant occasionally requires supervision to maintain safety.
Score 6

12(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 13. Initiating and completing personal action (which means planning, organisation, problem solving, prioritising or switching tasks).

13(a) Cannot, due to impaired mental function, reliably initiate or complete at least two sequential personal actions. Score 15

13(b) Cannot, due to impaired mental function, reliably initiate or complete at least two sequential personal actions for the majority of the time. Score 9

13(c) Frequently cannot, due to impaired mental function, reliably initiate or complete at least two sequential personal actions. Score 6

13(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 14. Coping with change.

14(a) Cannot cope with any change to the extent that day-to-day life cannot be managed.  Score 15

14(b) Cannot cope with minor planned change (such as a pre-arranged change to the routine time scheduled for a lunch break), to the extent that, overall, day-to-day life is made significantly more difficult. Score 9

14(c) Cannot cope with minor unplanned change (such as the timing of an appointment on the day it is due to occur), to the extent that, overall, day-to-day life is made significantly more difficult. Score 6

14(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 15. Getting about.

15(a) Cannot get to any place outside the claimant’s home with which the claimant is familiar. Score 15

15(b) Is unable to get to a specified place with which the claimant is familiar, without being accompanied by another person. Score 9

15(c) Is unable to get to a specified place with which the claimant is unfamiliar without being accompanied by another person. Score 6

15(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 16. Coping with social engagement due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder.

16(a) Engagement in social contact is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. Score 15

16(b) Engagement in social contact with someone unfamiliar to the claimant is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. Score 9

16(c) Engagement in social contact with someone unfamiliar to the claimant is not possible for the majority of the time due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. Score 6

16(d) None of the above applies. Score 0

Activity 17. Appropriateness of behaviour with other people, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder.

17(a) Has, on a daily basis, uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. Score 15

17(b) Frequently has uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. Score 15

17(c) Occasionally has uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. Score 9

17(d) None of the above applies. Score 0.

Appendix 2: Treated as having a limited capability for work

You will be automatically treated as having a limited capability for work, without having to score 15 points, in the following circumstances:

  • You are terminally ill. This is defined as a progressive disease and death in consequence of that disease can reasonably be expected within six months.
  • You are receiving treatment for cancer (or are likely to receive such treatment within six months) by way of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or you are recovering from that treatment and the DWP is satisfied that you should be treated as having a limited capability for work.
  • You have been given official notice not to work because you have been in contact with an infectious disease or contamination.
  • You are pregnant and there would be a serious risk to the health of you or your child if you did not refrain from work.
  • You are receiving medical or other treatment in a hospital or similar institution (including residential rehabilitation for treatment of drug or alcohol addiction), having been advised by a healthcare professional to stay there for a period of 24 hours or longer. The DWP may also treat you as having a limited capability for work on any day you are recovering from such treatment.
  • You are receiving regular weekly treatment by way of haemodialysis for chronic renal failure, or treatment by way of plasmapheresis, or regular weekly treatment by way of total parenteral nutrition for gross impairment of enteric function. The DWP may also treat you as having a limited capability for work during any week in which you have a day of recovery from such treatment. However, for ESA you will only be treated as having a limited capability for work from the first week in which at least two days of that week are days of treatment or recovery (these days do not have to be consecutive).

Additional circumstances: ESA

For ESA, you will also be treated as having a limited capability for work in the following circumstances:

  • You satisfy either descriptor 15 (conveying food or drink to the mouth) or 16 (chewing of swallowing food or drink) in the ‘limited capability for work-related activity assessment’ – see Appendix 3
  • You are pregnant or have recently given birth, are entitled to maternity allowance and are within the maternity allowance payment period.
  • You are pregnant or have recently given birth but are not entitled to maternity allowance or statutory maternity pay from six weeks before the baby is due to two weeks after the birth.
  • You are a student in full-time education (and not a ‘qualifying young person’ for child benefit purposes) entitled to income-related ESA because you get disability living allowance, personal independence payment or armed forces independence payment.

Appendix 3: The limited capability for work-related activity assessment

If one or more of the following descriptors applies to you, you will be assessed as having a limited capability for work-related activity (or, for universal credit, a limited capability for work and work-related activity). For ESA, this will place you in the support group of claimants (see section 3 above). For universal credit, it will entitle you to the ‘work capability element’. In each case, you will be exempt from having to meet work-related conditions in order to keep receiving the benefit in full.

The assessment takes into account your abilities when using any aid or appliance you would normally or could reasonably be expected to use.

Activity 1. Mobilising unaided by another person with or without a walking stick, manual wheelchair or other aid if such aid is normally or could reasonably be worn or used.

Cannot either:
(a) mobilise more than 50 metres on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion; or
(b) repeatedly mobilise 50 metres within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion.  

Activity 2. Transferring from one seated position to another.

Cannot move between one seated position and another seated position located next to one another without receiving physical assistance from another person.

Activity 3. Reaching.

Cannot raise either arm as if to put something in the top pocket of a coat or jacket.

Activity 4. Picking up and moving or transferring by the use of the upper body and arms (excluding standing, sitting, bending or kneeling and all other activities specified in this appendix).

Cannot pick up and move a 0.5 litre carton full of liquid.

Activity 5. Manual dexterity.

Cannot press a button (such as a telephone keypad) with either hand or cannot turn the pages of a book with either hand.

Activity 6. Making self understood through speaking, writing, typing, or other means which are normally, or could reasonably be, used unaided by another person.

Cannot convey a simple message, such as the presence of a hazard.

Activity 7. Understanding communication by:

(i) verbal means (such as hearing or lip reading) alone;

(ii) non-verbal means (such as reading 16-point print or Braille) alone; or

(iii) a combination of (i) and (ii)

using any aid that is normally, or could reasonably be, used unaided by another person.                      

Cannot understand a simple message, such as the location of a fire escape, due to sensory impairment.

Activity 8. Absence or loss of control whilst conscious leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or voiding of the bladder, other than enuresis (bed-wetting), despite the wearing or use of any aids or adaptations which are normally or could reasonably be worn or used.

At least once a week experiences:
(a) loss of control leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or voiding of the bladder; or
(b) substantial leakage of the contents of a collecting device,
sufficient to require the individual to clean themselves and change clothing.

Activity 9. Learning tasks.

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

Activity 10. Awareness of hazard.

Reduced awareness of everyday hazards, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder, leads to a significant risk of:
(a) injury to self or others; or
(b) damage to property or possessions
such that the claimant requires supervision for the majority of the time to maintain safety.

Activity 11. 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.

Activity 12. 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.

Activity 13. 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 claimant.

Activity 14. 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.

Activity 15. Conveying food or drink to the mouth.

(a) Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving physical assistance from someone else;
(b) Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without repeatedly stopping or experiencing breathlessness or severe discomfort;
(c) 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
(d) Owing to a severe disorder of mood or behaviour, fails to convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving:
(i) physical assistance from someone else; or
(ii) regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s presence.

Activity 16. Chewing or swallowing food or drink.

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

Appendix 4: Treated as having a limited capability for work-related activity

You can be automatically treated as having a limited capability for work-related activity (or, for universal credit, a limited capability for work and work-related activity) if you are:

  • suffering from a progressive disease and consequently your death can reasonably be expected within six months;
  • receiving treatment by way of chemotherapy or radiotherapy (or are likely to receive such treatment within six months), or you are recovering from that treatment and the DWP is satisfied that you should be treated as having a limited capability for work-related activity;
  • suffering from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and consequently there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if you were found not to have a limited capability for work-related activity;
  • pregnant and there would be a serious risk to the health of you or your child if you did not refrain from work-related activity; or
  • (for universal credit only) have reached pension credit qualifying age and are entitled to attendance allowance, the highest rate of the care component of disability living allowance or the enhanced rate of the daily living component of personal independence payment.