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Incapacity Benefits: Reassessment Process

If you are claiming one of the following benefits, you will be reassessed by the Department for Work and Pensions to see if you are fit for work or should be moved onto a different benefit such as Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker's Allowance: - Incapacity Benefit - Severe Disablement Allowance - Income Support paid on the grounds of illness or disability (in most cases).

1. Which incapacity benefits are being abolished?

If you are claiming one of the following benefits you will be reassessed by the Department for Work and Pensions to see if you are fit for work or should be moved onto a different benefit such as Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker's Allowance:

Incapacity Benefit

Severe Disablement Allowance

Income Support paid on the grounds of illness or disability (in most cases).

The original aim was to complete the process by Spring 2014 but some people are still waiting to be reassessed.

 

2. The first contact

Jobcentre Plus will write to you when your benefit is about to be reassessed. They will also phone you to check you have received the letter, that you understand what action you need to take, and to find out if you need any extra help.

3. The questionnaire

After you have received the first letter, you will be sent a questionnaire to complete and return. The questionnaire asks about how your health condition or disability affects your ability to complete everyday tasks.

The questionnaire and any other evidence supplied will be used to decide if you need to attend a face-to-face assessment.

You can ask Jobcentre Plus to help you fill in the questionnaire but they can only write down exactly what you reply to the questions asked.

To find an independent adviser to assist you, use our Find an Adviser tool. If you don’t return the questionnaire your benefit may be affected.
 

4. The assessment

A healthcare professional will look at the information provided in the questionnaire. If they feel that more information is needed to make a decision about your benefit, you will be asked to attend a face-to-face assessment. This will concentrate on what you can do, rather than what you can’t.

A healthcare professional will assess how well you can do things like walk, sit and stand, use your hands, see and hear.

If you have a mental health condition, they will assess how it affects things like your mood, the way you behave, the way you relate to the world around you, and how you cope with things from day to day.

You can take a friend, relative or representative with you if you want.

You must go to the assessment and take part fully, or your benefit may be affected.

5. The decision

The healthcare professional who conducted the assessment will complete a report and send it to Jobcentre Plus.

Using the information from the questionnaire, the face-to-face assessment and any other evidence provided, a Jobcentre Plus decision-maker will decide if you are entitled to Employment and Support Allowance. Any evidence provided by your doctor or consultant is very important and will be fully considered.

If you are eligible for Employment and Support Allowance, Jobcentre Plus will telephone you and inform you of their decision and explain what you will need to do next. Your benefit will be transferred automatically and there will be no break in the payments you receive. There are two groups in Employment and Support Allowance, with different allowances and conditions attached. These are the Work Related Activity Group and Support Group.

During the call you will be advised which group you have been placed in and this will be confirmed in writing after the call. See our Employment and Support Allowance information guide for more information.

If you are not eligible for Employment Support Allowance, Jobcentre Plus will telephone you to explain why they think this. They will ask if there is any further information or evidence you would like to give them before they make a decision on your claim. If, after this, it is decided that you are not eligible for Employment and Support Allowance, your options will be discussed. You may be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support for other reasons, or Pension Credit. You will be sent a letter confirming the decision.

If you do not agree with the decision, you will need to contact Jobcentre Plus within one calendar month from the date of the decision letter and explain why. If you contact Jobcentre Plus later than this, they may not be able to help.