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Work Capability Assessment

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Andrew George Andrew George Liberal Democrat, St Ives

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to ensure that people who are terminally ill are not (a) inappropriately assessed for benefit entitlement and (b) compelled to undertake mandatory work placements.

Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The information is as follows:

(a) Where an individual suffers from a progressive disease and is expected to live for less than six months, they are considered to be terminally ill and are placed immediately into the Support Group of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). On declaring this, they are dealt with under fast track rules which mean their claim must be processed as soon as possible and they are exempt from a face-to-face assessment. These claimants receive the higher rate of benefit immediately.

Claimants who do not claim under special fast track rules will have their case assessed on paper-based evidence. Processes are in place for health care professionals to request further evidence if required. Claimants with a limited capability for work will be placed in the Support Group.

(b) ESA claimants in the Support Group are not subject to any work-related requirements but can access employment and health-related support on a voluntary basis.

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