Thank you for contacting me about the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
I want to ensure our welfare system encourages and supports people into work, while providing a vital safety net for those who need it most.
The world of work has transformed since the pandemic. More people are able to benefit from the advantages and opportunities of flexible and home working. These developments bring new opportunities for those with disabilities or mental health conditions to work in a more familiar, manageable, and accessible environment – along with significantly increased employer understanding of the accessibility needs of their staff.
The WCA has not kept up with these changes and opportunities for support, and the activities and descriptors of the WCA have not been comprehensively reviewed for more than a decade. Growing numbers of people on Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance are now being assessed through WCA as not being able to work or even able to prepare for work.
It is not right that such claimants are effectively being excluded from available support and encouragement to access the health, wellbeing and financial benefits of work, particularly when one in five people who are not expected to engage in work preparation would like to work at some point in the future if the right job and support were available.
In Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper, the Government committed to eventually removing the WCA so that there is only one functional health and disability assessment – the Personal Independence Payment assessment. This will mean that there will be no need to be found to have limited capability for work and limited capability to prepare for work to get additional income-related support for a disability or health condition. This reform will ensure that those who are able to can progress in or towards work, without the worry of being reassessed and losing their benefits. It will give people confidence that they will receive support, for as long as it is needed, regardless of whether they are working.