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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to his Department's document ESA214 - The Work Capability Assessment, page 17, what estimate he has made of the average time which elapses between a customer's initial work capability assessment and a further assessment; and how many customers have been required to undergo more than one work capability assessment since its introduction.
Employment and support allowance (ESA) was introduced in October 2008. A key factor in determining eligibility for ESA is the work capability assessment (WCA). The WCA is carried out by health care professionals employed by Atos Healthcare.
Following the initial WCA, those who are placed on ESA are given a provisional date for reassessment via a further WCA. The timing of this is determined by the nature of their health condition(s).
The average time between the initial WCA and the first repeat WCA is just under 10 months. This is based on data from 66,300 ESA claims, starting between October 2008 and May 2010. These only include people who have had two or more completed WCAs relating to the same ESA claim.
The above data come from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions and functional assessment data sourced from Atos Healthcare. The data have been rounded to the nearest 100.