If you receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) it is normal to be asked to attend a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) more than once.
When you first make a claim for ESA the DWP send a Work Capability Assessment referral to Atos Healthcare for advice on how your disability or illness affects your day to day life.
The DWP use this advice, and other information available to them, to make a decision on your claim. If they decide to award you the Work Related Activity Component or Support Component for ESA they will also make a decision on when your circumstances need to be reviewed and will set a ‘re-referral date’ which will trigger the point at which you will be asked to attend for a new assessment.
The period for a re-referral date is usually between 3 months and 2 years after the date of the assessment. It is sometimes referred to as a “prognosis” but it is important to note that it does not refer to any diagnosis of your condition. Instead it is looking at a sensible time period to check if your limited capability for work is likely to change. Our health care professionals are asked to recommend to the DWP a “prognosis” date when they complete a WCA report for the DWP.
What happens when you are re-referred
Each time you are referred to us by DWP for a WCA you will be sent a “Limited Capability for Work Questionnaire”. The DWP are likely to start this process and issue the questionnaire before the review period has ended. This is because they are aiming to make a decision by the end of the review period and your assessment needs to have taken place ahead of that time.
When you are sent a new questionnaire to complete, you should provide the latest information on how you are affected by your disability or illness. It is especially important to give information about anything that has changed since you were last assessed. For example, has your condition improved, stayed the same, or worsened perhaps? Have you had any further treatment, or an operation, and has this helped? Have you now been diagnosed with a different condition? Please also provide as much relevant medical information as possible to explain how you are affected by your medical condition. This will help the doctor or nurse reviewing your referral to identify if you need to attend a face-to-face assessment.
Repeat assessments after an appeal hearing
If you have appealed the decision made by DWP and their original decision has been changed, your case will be returned to a DWP Decision Maker who will review it and set the re-referral date. The time period they choose will start from the original assessment date rather than the date of the appeal hearing. This means in some cases that the re-referral date set can be quite soon after an appeal. The DWP Decision Maker will have taken a number of factors into account including the details of your Limited Capability for Work (LCW) and factors the Tribunal took into account in reaching their decision of the re-referral date.