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ESA work capability assessment rules explained as 1,000s of claims are yet to be processed

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ESA can be claimed for by those who were under the state pension age if they had a disability or health condition which affected their ability to work. Additionally, claimants would need to have both worked as an employee or have been self-employed, and paid enough National Insurance contributions.

To determine what a person is entitled to, a work capability assessment will be used following a claim to determine if an illness or disability affects how much a person can work.

Where these assessments are needed, claimants will get a letter telling them to fill in the “Capability for work questionnaire”, which will then need to be sent on to the Health Assessment Advisory Service.

Following this, claimants will be told of the next steps, which may involve additional appointments to understand their condition(s) better.

Assessments can be done in person, by video or over the phone and claimants can have them recorded if they wish.

These assessment rules should be noted carefully as today, new data from the DWP shows thousands of claimants have yet to be fully processed.

Today, the DWP released research on how many outstanding ESA claims there are, as at May 31, 2021.

The DWP clarified ESA and NSESA claims are “outstanding” if they have been received into the department and have not yet been processed.

The data showed there are around 15,300 outstanding NSESA claims.

Additional data showed as of June 30, 2021, around 15,000 outstanding NSESA claims remain.

For context, there were 1,869,200 ESA and NSESA claimants as of November 2020, the latest available published data.

New claims for ESA can be made online through the Government’s website.

Before applying, claimants will need to have the following at the ready:

  • Their National Insurance number
  • Their bank or building society account number and sort code
  • Their doctor’s name, address and telephone number
  • Details of their income if they’re working
  • The date their statutory sick pay (SSP) ends if they’re claiming it



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