Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon Chair, Defence Sub-Committee, Chair, Defence Sub-Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people are on the severe conditions criteria list; how long those people have been on that list; and what conditions they have.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Severe Conditions Criteria was introduced on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on 29 September 2017 and means that claimants with the most severe and lifelong health conditions or disabilities will no longer be routinely reassessed. We worked closely with the assessment provider, the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA), healthcare professionals and disability charities when developing the criteria to cease re-assessments for people with the most severe health conditions or disabilities (unless there is a change in their circumstances).

Since August 2018 we also introduced updated guidance for Personal Independence Payment claimants to ensure that claimants on the highest level of support, whose needs will not improve, receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the 10-year point.

The information requested on the length of time on the severe conditions criteria list is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The information requested is not centrally collated for Universal Credit claimants and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The available information on the number of people on the ESA caseload who have been assessed as meeting the severe conditions criteria, by primary medical condition group and claim duration is shown in the following table.

Number of Employment and Support Allowance claimants on the ESA caseload who have been assessed as meeting the severe conditions criteria, by primary medical condition group and by claim duration, as at the end of May 2018, Great Britain




By Primary Medical Condition group

Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (A00 - B99)


Neoplasms (C00 - D48)


Diseases of the Blood and Blood forming organs and certain diseases involving the immune mechanism (D50 - D89)


Endocrine, Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases (E00 - E90)


Mental and Behavioural Disorders (F00 - F99)


Diseases of the Nervous System (G00 - G99)


Diseases of the Eye and Adnexa (H00 - H59)


Diseases of the Ear and Mastoid Process (H60 - H95)


Diseases of the Circulatory System (I00 - I99)


Diseases of the Respiratory System (J00 - J99)


Diseases of the Digestive System (K00 - K93)


Diseases of the Skin and Subcutaneous System (L00 - L99)


Diseases of the Musculoskeletal system and Connective Tissue (M00 - M99)


Diseases of the Genitourinary System (N00 - N99)


Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Puerperium (O00 - O99)


Congenital Malformations, Deformations and Chromosomal Abnormalities

(Q00 - Q99)


Symptoms, Signs and Abnormal Clinical and Laboratory findings, not

elsewhere classified (R00 - R99)


Injury, Poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes (S00 -



External causes of morbidity and mortality (V01-Y98)


Factors influencing health status and contact with health services (Z00 - Z99)


Unknown or claimants without diagnosis on the system


By Duration of claim

under 3 months


3- 6 months


6-12 months


1-2 years


2-5 years


5 years




Source: Employment Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessment dataset and Work and Pensions Longitudinal Survey.


  1. Statistical disclosure control has been applied to these tables to avoid the release of confidential data. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100. ‘-‘ denotes nil or under 50.
  2. The figures may not match with published sources as they have been derived from a different source.
  3. Individuals may have moved into the severe condition criteria list during their claim.
  4. Medical condition classification is based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation.
  5. Medical condition is based on evidence provided at the start of the claim, this in itself does not confer entitlement to Employment Support Allowance and may not represent a claimant’s most recent medical condition.
  6. For reporting purposes, the disability conditions as recorded on the Employment Support Allowance Benefit system have been mapped to reflect as closely as possible the appropriate ICD10 code.
  7. Where someone has more than one diagnosis or disabling condition, only the predominant one is reported on in these statistics, which should be the most predominant condition.
  8. From 29th September 2017 the Work Capability Assessment criteria changed for some ESA claimants. Claimants in the Support Group no longer need to go for reassessment if they meet the severe condition criteria.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes9 people think so

No1 person thinks not

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