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5th Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – Share your experiences

We are currently working on our submission to the fifth and final statutory independent review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) being conducted by Dr Litchfield and we would be very grateful for your help in gathering information and sharing your experience.

The Work Capability Assessment is the functional test which determines eligibility for Employment Support Allowance (ESA). ESA has replaced Incapacity Benefit for those who are unable to work due to long term illness or disability.

We would be very interested in hearing about your experiences of claiming ESA and the Work Capability Assessment. The experiences you have very kindly shared with us on this topic previously have been invaluable in achieving success with the Work and Pensions Committee Report on ESA, which echoed many of our recommendations concerning progressive conditions. Your help is very much appreciated and very important so please do get in touch.

In particular we would be very grateful if you could get in touch and answer the following questions:

•How did you find the process of claiming and receiving Employment Support Allowance? (50 words).

•If you had a face to face assessment, how did you find the experience? (50 words)

•What was your experience of the Work Related Activity Group and the actions required of you within it? (50 words)

•If you have been through it, what has been your experience of Mandatory Reconsideration and the Appeals process? (50 words).

The Disability Benefits Consortium, of which NRAS is a member, is also running the Big Benefits Survey 2014, to gather information about this issue and help shape submissions. Please do take the time to complete this if you can as it is very helpful and collects condition specific information which is invaluable. It should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete and closes on the 3rd August.

For further information and to share your experiences, please contact our Government Affairs Officer, Laura on or 0845 458 3969.

If you wish to, it is also possible to submit an individual submission of your own to the Review. Please go to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) website for more information.

3 Replies

I was sent forms to apply for ESA in July 2013 ( I had been on incapacity benefit for 11 years) I did not think I would be successful after hearing so many horror stories in the media. So I applied for a job 12 hours a week. I found out I had been awarded ESA and that I was offered the job. I spoke to a decision maker at jobcentre plus who said try the job and if it exacerbates your condition reclaim ESA. So that's what I did. I lasted 11 weeks in the job and have been off sick for 7 months. I am on no pay and my SSP has run out. I was told I cannot get ESA because I do not have enough NI. I am so annoyed if I had known that back in August 2013 I wouldn't have taken the big gamble of trying a job.


I know someone else Kiki , that exactly this has happened to, it so sad. X


Hi Kikideelili,

Thank you very much for responding to the call out about ESA and the WCA. Would you be happy to email me about this or have a chat on the phone with me? It would be brilliant and very helpful to get some more information about your experiences. My email address is or my phone number is 0845 458 3969.


Laura, NRAS Government Affairs Officer


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