Employment and Support Allowance: Work Capability Assessment

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants have had their employment and support allowance payments stopped because of the temporary suspension of face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

New claimants will receive the assessment rate of benefit, and existing claimants will remain on their current award, until we are able to gather the evidence needed for a decision to be made (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Where an individual’s contributory ESA ends, if they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

If, following their assessment, and the subsequent decision, an ESA claimant is entitled to a higher rate of benefit, payments are backdated where appropriate, so that they do not lose out.

We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that people get the support they are entitled to as quickly as possible by continuing to assess people on paper evidence, as usual, where we can, using this route as often as we are able to. We have also introduced telephone assessments and we are currently in the early stages of testing WCA video assessments.

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