Work capability assessment consultation
The government is consulting on the Work Capability Assessment which is used in universal credit and employment support allowance to determine what work-related conditions a disabled person must meet to keep getting their benefit.
The proposed changes involve eliminating any consideration of an individual’s mobility issues, the real issues surrounding bowel and bladder and remove the assessment category related to work with significant health risks. All this directly affects people with spinal cord injuries.
The government’s suggested modifications to the Work Capability Assessment seem to be primarily aimed at imposing conditions and cutting down on benefit spending, rather than genuinely assisting disabled individuals in finding employment. As a result, disabled individuals might find themselves compelled to seek or secure employment that exceeds their capabilities.
The changes being consulted are:
- Remove the mobilising activity entirely or;
- Amend the Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity mobilising descriptor to bring it in line with the equivalent descriptor in personal independence payment Personal Independence Payment, replacing 50 metres with 20 metres for both descriptors within the Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity or;
- Reduce the points awarded for the limited capability for work mobilising descriptors.
Getting about (for Limited Capability for Work only)
- Remove the getting about activity entirely or;
- Reduce the points awarded for Limited Capability for Work descriptors for getting about.
Coping with social engagement
- Remove the coping with social engagement activity entirely or;
- Reduce the points awarded for Limited Capability for Work descriptors for coping with social engagement.
Absence or loss of bowel/bladder control
- Remove the continence activity entirely or;
- Amend the Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity continence descriptor so that claimants are required to experience symptoms ‘daily’ rather than ‘weekly’ or;
- Reduce the points awarded for the Limited Capability for Work continence descriptors.
Substantial risk to health
In addition, the Department for Work and Pensions proposes two options relating to whether someone meets the provision of “substantial risk to their physical or mental health or to the physical or mental health of someone else if found not to have a Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity”.
- Amend the Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity substantial risk definition to reflect that this would not apply where a person could take part in tailored or a minimal level of work preparation activity and/or where reasonable adjustments could be put in place to enable that person to engage with work preparation or;
- Remove the Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity risk criteria entirely, so that anyone who would meet the current threshold would instead be placed in Limited Capability for Work.
Although the government is proposing to replace the work capability assessment in 2026/27 with the only assessment being Personal Independence Payment for new claimants only, the proposals they are consulting on if passed will come into effect by 2025.
The consultation can be found here
We intend to submit a formal response to this consultation and would welcome any views and comments from our members so we can represent these into our official submission.
If you do have any thoughts about the proposed actions, please email Dharshana Sridhar our campaigns manager by Wednesday 25th October 2023.
The deadline for responses to the consultation is Monday 30 October 2023.