Work Capability Assessment

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th January 2010.

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Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many medical assessments were carried out in respect of claims for (a) incapacity benefit and (b) employment and support allowance in (i) the UK, (ii) England and (iii) Milton Keynes in each of the last five years; and what proportion of those assessed were deemed eligible for those benefits on (A) initial assessment and (B) appeal.

Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Minister of State (Disabled People), Regional Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Disabled People), Department for Work and Pensions

Information on the number of medical assessments completed is not available for Milton Keynes. Additionally, the DWP is not responsible for the administration of incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance in Northern Ireland. Information is available for Great Britain and England. This is provided in the following tables.

Total number of incapacity benefit scrutiny and completed examinations
GB England
September 2005 to August 2006 816,043 653,704
September 2006 to August 2007 985,598 789,899
September 2007 to August 2008 1,068,920 857,992
September 2008 to August 2009 717,250 507,748
September 2009 to December 2009 140,423 106,006
Source:

DWP medical services contract management information

Total number of employment and support allowance scrutiny and completed examinations
September 2008 to August 2009 September 2009 to December 2009
GB 197,073 142,757
England 158,024 117,541
Notes:

1. Management information held by the Department does not separately identify PCA assessments in respect of initial claims to benefit, as all referrals were in respect of customers in receipt of incapacity benefit.

2. Excludes work focused health related assessments.

3. Data relate to the number of completed medical examinations and paper scrutiny clearances completed by Atos Healthcare.

Source:

DWP medical services contract management information

Information on the number of initial awards following these referrals is not available.

Data on appeals relating to IB claims are not held centrally. Detailed information relating to the work capability assessment for employment support allowance claims in Great Britain was published in October 2009 and is available at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_wca/esa_wca_arc.asp

A copy of the publication is available in the Library and details the number of initial assessments carried out since the introduction of employment and support allowance, a breakdown of the result of the assessment, including the fit for work decision and separate information relating to work capability assessment appeals.

Data relating specifically to work capability assessment appeals are reproduced in the table:

Work capability assessment appeals heard on 'fit for work' decisions-data to end of August 2009
Number
Appeals heard 4,900
DWP decision upheld 3,300
Decision in favour of appellant 1,500
Notes:

1. Includes clerical assessments, we can infer that an appeal that links to a clerical assessment was very likely to be against a 'fit for work' decision.

2. Due to the time it takes for appeals to be submitted to Tribunal Service and heard, a limited volume of appeals heard data are held currently. Volumes will increase in the coming months as more appeals are processed giving a more robust picture of appeal volumes and outcomes. It will then be possible to link this information to the WCA data and provide information on proportions appealing.

3. Figures rounded to the nearest 100.

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