NRAS Government Affairs Team - The Fourth Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA)

Dear all,

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is seeking evidence about the effectiveness of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and where further improvement is needed. Doctor Paul Litchfield has been tasked with carrying out the Fourth Independent Review of the WCA, which closes for comments at the end of this month.

The Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) began in October 2008 and is a benefit for disabled people and people with a health condition who are finding it difficult to work. The WCA is the key process used to screen claimants' who apply for the benefit. During the WCA claimants are asked to undergo a series of tests to determine whether they should be awarded the benefit and placed into the ESA Support Group, the Work Related Activity Group (and make preparations to return to work), or be deemed fit for work and denied access to ESA financial support.

There have been three reviews of the WCA so far, which were carried out by Professor Harrington between 2010 and 2012. Previous reviews have made a number of key recommendations for improvements, which have been implemented by DWP. These include a new section for the claimant to express the issues they face with a personalised justification as part of the ESA50 questionnaire and improved training has been introduced for Atos Healthcare Professionals and DWP Decision Makers. This is therefore a great opportunity to improve the assessment process for people with rheumatoid arthritis and attempt to ensure past mistakes are not repeated.

Help change policy!

Have you had one or more WCAs in order to qualify for the ESA benefit in the past three years? If so, then NRAS needs to hear from you.

Please email and we'll tell you how you can help the campaign. The sooner you get in touch the better as the consultation ends on Tuesday 27 August.

Many thanks in advance for your help.

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4 Replies

  • Good luck, I am glad that NRAS are out there fighting on our behalf before any income we have is taken away! Would love them also to tackle the proposed new rules on blue badges, I would be so isolated without mine. Axx

  • What is the new rules regarding blue badges allanah x

  • I just heard that there are new proposals being considered where if u can walk more than 20 feet , it was 30, then u would not qualify for help, that was even with crutches! So it sorta seemed it would mainly be for those wheelchair bound.

    Now don't panic, lol, I heard it where? And it was being considered. I think NRAS were involved in fighting this proposal for us RAa sufferers and they did a poll I believe on would that cause you problems, well it would me!!

  • Hi all,

    To my knowledge, nothing much has changed in the last 6 months regarding eligibility for the blue badge. These are the criteria for qualifying that I am aware of.

    You are eligible if:

    You receive the higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance

    You receive a War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement

    You use a motor vehicle supplied for disabled people by a Government health department

    You are registered blind

    You have a severe disability in both upper limbs, regularly drive a motor vehicle but cannot turn the steering wheel of a motor vehicle by hand even if that wheel is fitted with a turning knob

    You have a permanent and substantial disability which means you are unable to walk or have very considerable difficulty in walking. In this case you may be asked more questions to help determine whether you are eligible for a badge.

    You meet the Moving Around descriptor for the Mobility Component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that indicates that you either cannot stand or can stand but walk no more than 50 metres (the same as qualifying for the higher rate of DLA). This will give you 8 points under PIP and the standard rate of the Mobility Component.

    Children under two years of age do not qualify for a badge because they would not normally be expected to be able to walk independently.

    For more information about Blue Badges see the Directgov website or contact the National Association of Blue Badge Holders. I would also advise contacting Citizen's Advice or picking up our new PIP or benefits booklet.

    I hope this helps.



    Government Affairs Officer


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