Incapacity benefits – the reassessment process
Between October 2010 and Spring 2014 customers who receive Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Income Support paid on the grounds of illness or disability will be assessed for Employment and Support Allowance.
We will write to customers when their benefit becomes due for reassessment to tell them about the changes. We will also phone them to answer any questions they may have and find out if they need extra help. They do not need to contact us before they receive this letter.
Customers will then be sent a medical questionnaire to complete and return and this will be used to decide if they need to attend a Work Capability Assessment. It is important that customers provide as much detail as possible when completing the questionnaire as this will be used to help decide if the customer is entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
If they need to attend an assessment, the customer will be phoned to arrange an appointment. They will not need to attend an assessment if a decision can be made on the information provided on the medical questionnaire.
Using the information from the questionnaire, the Work Capability Assessment and any other evidence provided we will then decide if they are entitled to ESA.
People will continue to receive their current benefit, as long as they meet the conditions of entitlement, until we have reassessed their claim.
If a customer does not return their medical questionnaire or attend a Work Capability Assessment when asked, this may affect their benefit.
- Work Capability Assessment (Directgov)
If the customer can get ESA
We will phone and write to the customer to tell them they can get ESA. We will transfer their claim automatically and they will not need to do anything.
No one moving from their existing benefit to ESA will see a reduction in the level of their benefit entitlement at the point of change.
If we assess that an eventual return to work is realistic, we will place the customer in the "ESA Work Related Activity Group". This means they will:
- have to take part in Work Focused Interviews with their personal adviser
- get support to help them prepare for suitable work
- get extra money on top of their basic benefit called a "work related activity component".
If we assess the customer's illness or disability has a severe effect on their ability to work, we will place them in the "Support Group". This means they will:
- not have to take part in any work related activity, although they can do so voluntarily if they want to
- get extra money on top of their basic benefit called a "support component".
- Employment and Support Allowance (Diretcgov)
If the customer cannot get ESA
We will phone and write to the customer to tell them our decision and what to do if they think it is wrong.
We will also explain their options which may include the following.
Claim Jobseeker’s Allowance
They will need to make a new claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance. We can transfer them at the end of the call or give them a number to call later.
- Jobseeker's Allowance (Directgov)
Continue to claim Income Support
Some customers may still be able to receive income support if they qualify under another condition of entitlement, for example if they have young children. If we know of this entitlement they will not need to make a new claim, but the amount they get may change.
- Income Support (Directgov)
Claim Pension Credit
We will give them the phone number to claim Pension Credit and tell them what they will need to do.
- Pension Credit (Directgov)
If they think the decision is wrong
If the customer thinks the decision is wrong, they will need to get in touch with Jobcentre Plus within one month from the date of issue of the decision letter. If they contact us later we may not be able to help. The customer, or someone else who has the authority to act on their behalf, can:
- ask us to explain our decision
- ask us to write with the reasons for our decision
- ask us to look at our decision again, for example if they think we have overlooked some facts or they may have more information to give us which affects our decision
- appeal against our decision to an independent tribunal – this must be in writing.
The Work Programme
We share the aspiration of many disabled people and people with health conditions who want to move into sustained employment. We plan to introduce an integrated Work Programme that will offer targeted, personalised help for those who need it most, when they need it.