Capacity for work assessment — Scope | Disability forum
If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Capacity for work assessment

Can anybody tell me why sick notes which my partner has had now for 9 months with heart disease, stent and still one blocked artery are not worth anything for universal credit or work capacity assessment? I can't understand how the system can over rule a doctors note that says my partner can't and shouldn't work. I suffer with depression and can only work part time and my hours have been cut to 15 hours through work cuts. We have to manage on £500 from my wages and £96 universal credit. How can this be right? I have been told that because my home is mortgage free we are not entitled to any help. WCA Assessment say he is fit for work and no points. PIP say he is 2 points short of claiming PIP. DESPERATE TIMES. 


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hi kathy50 and I can appreciate your frustration so well.

    It's been many years now since work capability assessments were introduced into the benefits system in this country and people's GPs' and other medical professionals' view of their illness or disability has taken second place to the result of an hour's assessment conducted by someone not necessarily trained in the area of medicine that's relevant, and not always accurate in their reports either. 

    This change was introduced by a government and so far, there is little hint of a realisation that it may be wrong. Scope uses its influence to tell politicians that we strongly believe that the assessments are not fit for purpose and that improvements are urgently needed, in the interests of justice and fairness. Change for the better is taking a long time to come, but we won't give up.

    Meanwhile though, moving across to universal credit should not in itself alter your partner's work capability status, because it's been written into the transitional regulations that the status should ;be carried across to the new benefit. Was he previously in the support group?  This has a new name, the limited capability for work related activity group. Has there been any kind of gap between ESA entitlement and universal credit entitlement?

    Do check the qualifying conditions for ESA and PIP. Just because the first DWP decision says that your partner has no entitlement to either benefit, one or both of those decisions may be subject to challenge. Do this soon, as a mandatory reconsideration request should be made within a period of a month from the date of decision, if possible (otherwise, you have to say why you're late). 

    You can look at our website for a summary of the conditions for claiming both benefits.

    For ESA, bear in mind that there is an alternative to scoring 15 points - see Appendix 4 of Factsheet 71 published by Disability Rights UK. The "substantial risk to health or safety" clause is very useful and lots of people eventually win appeals on it. It's Regulation 29 to get into entitlement to ESA overall, and Regulation 35 to be in the support group.

    For PIP, look at, where you'll find lots of definitions of the terms used in those regulations. For example, you have to be able to do the activities n the list reliably, safely, repeatedly, in a reasonable time scale, or points for that activity should be scored.  And so on and so forth. These are the kinds of arguments that enable you to win a MR or an appeal. Lots of MRS are refused, but then the person wins on appeal.  Please don't give up.

    These things would increase your income, so would presumably help. Meanwhile though, I am sorry to hear that you are trying to live on a very small income. You could try doing  a benefit check (also on our website), but it may be that without any additional elements, the amount you get currently is "correct". I am hoping that you already have  council tax reduction, if not this needs to be claimed. 

    I hope something here helps a bit. If there is any specialist local advice, do try to get help or support. If not, phone the helpline as we can at least talk you through some of this. 

    Best wishes

    Benefit and Finance Information Specialist
    Scope Helpline: tel 0808 800 3333



Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.

Do you need advice on your energy costs?

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service is open to any disabled household in England or Wales in which one or more disabled people live. You can get free advice from an expert adviser on managing energy debt, switching tariffs, contacting your supplier and more. Find out more information by visiting our
Disability Energy Support webpage.