If you are unable to work, you may be entitled to new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and/or Universal Credit (UC). 

Once you claim the new style Employment and Support Allowance and/or Universal Credit as unfit for work, you will usually enter an assessment phase (13 weeks for Employment and Support Allowance, three months for Universal Credit).  You will need a ‘fit note’ from your GP to confirm you are not well enough to work. During the assessment phase you will be paid a basic rate of benefit prior to undergoing a work capability assessment (WCA). 

What is the work capability assessment? 

The work capability assessment is very important.  The work capability assessment will determine your ‘work group’. You will have to complete a questionnaire and in most cases attend an assessment with a health care professional. This could be face to face, by video or over the telephone.  It determines which work-related conditions you must meet to keep getting the benefit in full. 

  • If you are found to be fit for work your Employment and Support Allowance will end and you will need to look for work if on Universal Credit.
  • If you are found to have a ‘limited capability for work’ in the assessment, your work-related conditions will be limited. 
  • If you are found to have a ‘limited capability for work-related activity’ in the assessment, none of the work-related conditions will apply to you, and you will also be entitled to an increased payment on your benefit.

Even if you are found to have limited capability for work or work related activity does not mean you are not able to do some work if you would like to. If you are on new style Employment and Support Allowance you can work under ‘permitted work’ rules and still be paid Employment and Support Allowance.  If you are on Universal Credit there is no limit to the number of hours you can work however your earnings could affect the amount you are paid. 

For more information:

Alternatively, if you have a spinal cord injury our Welfare Benefits Advice team can advise as well as support with WCA form completion.  Telephone 0208 420 6711 or email [email protected] 

Welfare Benefits

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