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How you are assessed for work

Work Capability Assessment

You will be sent an ESA50 to complete that has to be returned within 4 wks. The questions are based on carrying out 17 listed physical or mental, intellectual activities. Points are awarded and if over 15 you are deemed to have limited Capability for work.

www.disabilityalliance.org or DWP A Guide to Employment and Support Allowance.

If there is clear evidence that you have limited Capability for work you go onto ESA. If not you will be invited to Attend a face to face assessment. This will be with Atos healthcare on the behalf of the DWP. There have already been much outcry about the accuracy of the Work Capability Assessments and an independent review has been carried out with recommendations to change things for the better.

Face to face assessment

Be aware from the moment you walk into the building you will be under observation. It is advisable to take someone with you. (Friend, family member, support worker.) Offering a lift to attend. You will be then seen by the Atos healthcare professional. The interview should last about 40 minutes.

They can ask you the following questions.

  • What everyday tasks you find difficult.
  • Does your condition change from day to day
  • Support you would need in returning to work.
  • What was your last place of work
  • Your medical condition/history and any time spent in hospital
  • Your housing situation

If you have a mental health problem or physical illness that affects your mental health they can also ask you

  • What you can understand and be able to focus on.
  • How you are able to cope with changes
  • Social interaction and isolation

They may decide that a physical examination will be helpful. They should ask your permission first. If you are in discomfort during the examination tell them as they might not ask.
You can pass the test as having limited capability for work-related activity if you are:
Suffering from a progressive disease and consequently your death can be reasonably be expected within six months.

Receiving treatment by way of intravenous, intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy (or are likely to receive treatment within 6 mths), or you are recovering from that treatment and Jobcentre Plus is satisfied that you have limited capability for work related activity.
Suffering from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and consequently there would be substantial risk to the mental or physical health of yourself

You will also have to bring 3 forms of I.D to the interview and any pills or medication.
You can then have a second interview to find out if you have a limited capability for work-related activity. This is to see if placed in support gp or work related group.
For a full list of activities, descriptors and pts. See Employment and Support Allowance guide. (esa214)

Work focused Interview

If you pass the above you will then have to attend a work focused interview and get a personal adviser to discuss what help in returning to work is available and if placed in work related or support gap.

If placed in work related group you will have to attend 5 interviews mthly . You will plan what you want to achieve with the advisor plan to help you move into work. This could involve tasters on returning to work, developing skills, job interview skills, and improving health. The interviews are mandatory and if fail to attend your ESA is reduced or sanctioned.