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Work Capability Assessments – What Are They and Who Does the Assessing?

If you suffer with chronic pain and find that it makes it difficult or impossible to work, you may be able to claim financial support. This will require a Work Capability Assessment (WCA). In this blog, we explain what is involved.

 

Many chronic pain conditions are so debilitating they can impact on a person’s ability to work. In certain situations, it is possible to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to help with living expenses.

Once you have applied for ESA, you will need to take a Work Capability Assessment within 13 weeks of your claim. This assessment comprises two separate parts – a questionnaire for you to complete and a face-to-face medical assessment for you to attend.

 

Capability for Work Questionnaire

This questionnaire provides you with the opportunity to explain to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) exactly how your chronic pain condition affects your ability to work and the problems faced in day-to-day life.

It begins by asking for personal information, such as your name, address, doctor’s details and a brief description of your illness, medication and any ongoing treatment.

The remainder of the questionnaire is divided into two parts:

 

  • Questions 1 – 10 focus on physical health and the ability – or lack of – to carry out certain activities. These include standing, sitting, walking, reaching, picking up and moving things and manual dexterity.

 

This section also covers communicating, such as hearing and speaking, and whether your condition impacts on reading, writing, or using a phone, tablet or laptop.  

 

  • Questions 11 – 17 concern mental health and wellbeing. This not only covers symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, but also the ability to cope with social situations and change to routine.

 

The completed questionnaire will be read by the healthcare professional who will conduct your medical assessment. You should therefore be as thorough as possible in providing answers to the questions.

 

Face-to-Face Medical Assessment

This part of the Work Capability Assessment is carried out by a healthcare professional, usually a doctor, nurse or physiotherapist depending on individual circumstances.

You will be asked additional questions about a typical day, the challenges you face and to expand on issues raised in your questionnaire.

Following this assessment, the healthcare professional will send a report to the DWP. Taking both the findings of the assessment and the content of the questionnaire into full consideration, the DWP will decide whether you have scored enough Work Capability Assessment points to receive Employment and Support Allowance. The minimum number of points required is 15.

If you disagree with the conclusions you can request a reconsideration of the decision.

Irrespective of the outcome of a Work Capability Assessment, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your condition.

At Brian Barr, we are expert lawyers specialising in Fibromyalgia, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Ankylosing Spondylitis and Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) compensation claims.

Funding your case may be very straightforward through any existing legal expenses insurance cover you may have, or our ‘no-win, no-fee’ scheme.

If you would like to speak with one of our team about starting a chronic pain compensation claim, then call us on 0161 737 9248 or fill in our online contact form.

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

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