Most people who make a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) need to attend a face to face disability assessment. For a number of different reasons some people feel they’re unable to travel to an assessment centre and would like their assessment – known as the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) – to take place in their home.
This blog post explains who’s entitled to a home visit and how to arrange one.
There’s no fixed set of criteria that determines whether or not you’re entitled to a home visit for your WCA. It depends on your individual circumstances, determined by the information you provide us with.
Usually, a home visit will only be carried out if you’re unable to leave your home for any reason. If you’re able to attend GP or hospital appointments, you’ll normally be expected to go to an assessment centre for your WCA.
How can you request a home visit?
If you feel you’re unable to attend the appointment that has been booked for you in one of our assessment centres and would like to request for your assessment to be carried out in your home, you can call our Contact Centre on 0800 2888 777.
You’ll be asked to provide information in writing from the medical professional who’s treating you (usually your GP) to explain why you’re unable to travel to an assessment centre. We’ll also look at the detail you’ve provided us with in your self assessment questionnaire. One of our healthcare professionals will then decide, based on this information, if you’re eligible for a home visit.
Unfortunately, Atos Healthcare can’t help you with any fees your medical professional may charge you for providing a letter.
If you miss your WCA, whether at the assessment centre or at your own home, you’ll be sent a separate form asking you to explain why you weren’t available. You’ll need to fill this out and send it to the Jobcentre Plus office that’s dealing with your claim. If they believe you have good cause for not attending your appointment, they’ll refer your case back to us and we’ll get in touch to arrange another appointment.
What can you expect during a home visit?
An assessment carried out by one of our specially trained healthcare professionals during a home visit is very similar to one that takes place in an assessment centre. The aim is to examine how your illness or disability affects you in your day to day life.
We’ll ask you questions like:
• how your medical condition affects you in your daily life;
• whether your condition varies from day-to-day, or over periods of time;
• the difference between what you can and can’t do; and
• if you have a condition that affects your mental health, how this affects your daily life.
If relevant to your condition, we may also need to carry out a physical examination. This could include blood pressure, sight or hearing tests, a general physical exam and a limb examination, which may involve some limited stretching, standing and bending.
You won’t ever be asked to do anything that might cause you discomfort or pain.
Every assessment’s different, but they usually last somewhere between 20 and 60 minutes. We’d always suggest allowing up to 2 hours just in case, although it’s unlikely to take that long.
As with assessments that take place at our centres, you can have a relative, carer or companion in the room with you during your WCA. We’d encourage you to do so if you feel you’ll find it helpful.
What happens next?
After the assessment, the healthcare professional who carried out your WCA will use the information you provided, and their findings from any physical examination, to complete a medical report.
We send this report onto the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) so they can make a decision on your claim. The DWP will then get in touch with you directly to talk to you about your entitlement.
If you have any other questions or would like any more information on the WCA, take a look at the frequently asked questions section of our site.