If Universal Credit has been introduced where you live, some of the information in this set of pages may not apply to you (although in practice many of the things, including the Work Capability Assessment itself, are the same. For an introduction to Universal Credit, click here
(Click here if you want to go straight to your further options)
Here’s the scenario: a letter arrives from the Jobcentre Plus telling you that you do not have a limited capability for work and your Employment and Support Allowance will be stopping. Maybe you’ve been on the sick for years without any problems, maybe you’ve only recently started to get this benefit, or maybe you’ve had this happen to you many times before. Whichever of these applies to you, you are probably not feeling very happy right now.
The good news is that you have the right to challenge this decision.
The bad news is that even if you are sure that you are not fit for work, and your GP agrees, the way the rules are written means that there may be no way that your challenge can succeed. I’ll now tell you why…
Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is not about whether you can do
the kind of job you used to do. It is not even about whether you
can do any job, in fact. It is about whether your difficulties fit
the rules the government has drawn up. Unfair, possibly, but true.
It doesn’t help that in the past the Jobcentre Plus agreed that you were not fit for work. This is because:
Sounds harsh? Well, yes it does. And it is harsh. Especially if you have the sort of medical condition that doesn’t fit their rules, or if, say, you’re used to doing manual work and aren’t experienced at anything else, or if you’ve got a degenerative condition that just doesn’t get better, but still get told that you are now fit for work when you weren’t before. But that’s the way it is, I’m afraid…
Now choose one of the following options:
- ‘I want to know how the Jobcentre Plus goes about a Work Capability Assessment’
- ‘Please explain how the Work Capability Assessment rules work’
- ‘I need to work out whether my appeal has a reasonable chance of succeeding’
- ‘I want to know about the appeal process (and how to survive while the appeal is going on)’
- ‘I want know about preparing for and attending the appeal hearing’
- ‘I want to know what my options are if my appeal fails’
- ‘What should I do if my appeal doesn’t have a reasonable chance of succeeding?’