Work Capability Assessment


The assessment is carried out by healthcare professionals to determine how a person's illness or disability affects her/his ability to work and carry out daily activities. The assessment is carried out initially with the first 13 weeks of ESA application. ATOS holds the UK government contract for the WCA. In Scotland this has been subcontracted in the main; the requirement and procedure remains UK wide

Who will be affected?

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is for people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

The assessment

There are two parts to the WCA although not everyone will have to do all of them. These tests are called:

  • the limited capability for work assessment
  • the limited capability for work-related activity assessment

Not everyone is required to do both, though they are normally carried out at the same time

Since WCA started, there have been ongoing complaints and evidence of the harmful process and results. These have come from those undergoing the assessment, citizens and human rights advocates, and charitable bodies supporting vulnerable adults and their families.You can read some of this evidence and personal experiences here.

What's happening locally

Local media reports are posted on this page and will be updated regularly.

Contact Citizen's Advice locally, visit the Citizen's Advice webpage, attend staff training to keep informed

Result of assessment

On completion of the assessment, people are assigned to one of two categories

a support group - for assistance into finding suitable employment
work-related activity group - to undertake activity as preparation for future work. Some people are exempt from this.

WCA and ESA entitlement

The findings of the WCA are combined with other factors to assess both entitlement to and mount awarded from ESA, if any.

ESA appeals

Many appeals have been generated from the WCA process and disputed findings. Healthcare professionals, GP's in particular, have been called upon to support their patients through the appeals process. Check the GP support for ESA appeals page for action by local GP's.​

Last Reviewed: 10/07/2013