17 March 2011
The new Limited Capability for Work questionnaire (ESA50) was published 14 March.
Our Welfare Rights Adviser, Sarah Lawrence, says: “This form will now be sent out to people who are currently getting Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance or Income support on the grounds of sickness as well as new claimants. Existing Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants will also be sent this form when their claim is periodically reassessed.
“People currently on the incapacity related benefits above who are due to have their benefits reassessed as part of the transfer to Employment and Support Allowance will first receive a letter informing them of the transfer process.
“The Department for Work and Pensions has said that claimants will then receive a phone call and can then expect to receive the ESA50 to complete.
“Most people will also have to attend a meeting with a health care professional following the submission of their ESA50 form.
“New claimants will continue to claim in the usual way and will not be sent a letter or receive a phone call about being transferred.
“The test that people will be assessed under is the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and the new form reflects changes to the assessment.
“Some of the regulations have changed and the new regulations are due to come into force on 28 March.
“It is almost certain that they will start on this date, despite a lot of opposition - but until they are officially introduced we are unable to issue a new guide to filling in the form.”
If you have received a new form dated 3/11 and you need more guidance please contact our Welfare Rights Line on 0845 122 8648.
lf you have an earlier version of the form (not dated 3/11) you can still use our ESA FIF guide as you will be assessed under the old WCA and regulations.