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Work-focused interviews

If you are put in the work-related activity group, you will be asked to attend one or more work-focused interviews. At each interview, a ‘work coach’ will discuss your work prospects, the steps that you are willing to take to move into work and the support available to you.

The interview can be waived if you are likely to be starting a job or returning to work soon. The work coach can also defer an interview if, because of your condition, it would be inappropriate at that particular time.

You will not be need to take part in a work-focused interview if you have been placed in the support group

If you fail to take part in a work-focused interview without good cause, your employment and support allowance (ESA) may be sanctioned. For more on sanctions, see our Factsheet F70 – sanctions.

The health and work conversation

You may be asked to take part in a further work-focused interview: the 'health and work conversation’. If you do not take part in the interview without good cause, your benefit can be sanctioned.

The health and work conversation should not be applied if it would be inappropriate for you (eg if you provide care for a severely disabled person). It can also be postponed if it would not be appropriate at that time (eg if you are due to have an operation). The circumstances are not set in law, so you will need to inform the Department for Work and Pensions why the conversation should not take place or why it should be postponed.