If you have been referred for a Work Capability Assessment, you may not always need to have a face to face assessment. This article explains how Atos Healthcare reviews medical evidence before an appointment is made to see if there is enough information for the DWP to make their decision without a face to face assessment.
When you receive a questionnaire
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) sends a referral to Atos Healthcare if you:
• register a claim with the DWP for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA),
• are currently receiving Incapacity Benefit (IB) and need to be reassessed under ESA guidelines,
• are due to have your current claim for ESA reassessed
The DWP will write to you to advise you to expect a questionnaire and that this should be returned to Atos Healthcare after completion.
The questionnaire is sent out when a referral is received. This is called a “Limited Capability for Work Questionnaire”. The questionnaire is important, because it gives you the opportunity to detail the effects of your illness or disability on your everyday life. You return this questionnaire to Atos Healthcare.
Reviewing medical evidence before an appointment is booked
Your questionnaire is then reviewed by a doctor or nurse along with any other evidence you may have submitted, or has been obtained from your GP.
We would encourage you to send us any medical information you hold which explains how you are affected by your medical condition.
In most cases, the DWP require us to ask you to attend a face to face assessment. However, there are specific circumstances where, if sufficient medical information is available in your questionnaire, from your GP, or in further evidence you provide, a face to face assessment will not be necessary. This usually occurs when evidence clearly demonstrates that you should be placed into the “Support Group” for ESA. It can also happen if you have IB or ESA award and the evidence demonstrates that you should be placed in the “Work-Related Activity Group” (WRAG) as you are likely to have ongoing limited capability for work.
In both cases, we can only provide advice that a face to face assessment is not needed if the evidence is sufficient to meet DWP requirements.
The DWP will then make the decision, taking into account all the available evidence and will notify you of their decision.
Medical evidence received after an appointment is booked
If you have already been given an appointment and then additional evidence is received from your GP or treating healthcare professional, we will consider whether you still need to attend. If not, we will inform you that you no longer need to attend the assessment that has been booked and the appointment will be cancelled.
Please don’t worry if you are asked to attend a face to face assessment. This is part of the normal process and means that our health care professionals can find out more about your circumstances. They can then provide the DWP with as much information as possible.
The DWP will assess your claim and make a decision on benefit entitlement. Much more information about the Work Capability Assessment is available on our website at www.atoshealthcare.com/claimants/