Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Longer term illness or disability

The claimant will need to provide the DWP with a 'fit notes' from their doctor and request that a Work Capability Assessment be carried out.

NOTE: their work search requirements are not switched off (though they can ask the work coach to vary them). 


Eve is diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition. They hand in a 'fit note' from their doctor and requests that the Work Capability Assessment is triggered. Their work coach explains that he cannot 'switch off' their work related requirements but agrees only to telephone in 3 months’ time to see how they are. 

If they are found to have a Limited Capability for Work, then they will no longer be required to look for work - and the conditionality group they are in will change. They may also receive more Universal Credit.

Click here for more information.

Getting referred for the Work Capability Assessment as soon as possible

They need to ensure that the DWP understand that they have a longer term illness and that they want the 'relevant period' to begin from the date they provide medical evidence that they are unfit for work - otherwise the DWP may treat them as having a temporary illness and only consider referring them for a Work Capability Assessment after they have provided medical certificates / fit notes covering 28 days.

If refused use letter UC LCW1 (under LCW letters).

Use letter UC LCW9 if a request for a Work Capability Assessment appears to have been ignored.

NOTE: the DWP's guidance and this flowchart do not appear to include referring before 28 days - apart from limited circumstances but Universal Credit Regulation 41 does not limit in this way.

And in response to an FOI the DWP stated:
"In some circumstances, a claimant can be referred for a WCA immediately when the health condition or disability is reported."

According to internal operational guidance UCKM1 a referral to a Work Capability Assessment will be done where an 'account developer' (AD) in the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) Specialist Team has identified that a WCA referral is required when one of the following occurs:

  • a claimant has reached the 28th day of sickness and it is appropriate to refer them or
  • an immediate referral is required because the claimant can be treated as having Limited Capability for Work (LCW) or Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity (LCWRA) or LCWRA due to terminal illness
  • or a re-referral is required because the claimant is within 2 months of the end of their prognosis or because they have previously failed to attend a WCA. 

NOTE: where a claimant is pension age and getting Attendance Allowance, enhanced rate daily living PIP or high rate care DLA they will be treated as having a LCWRA, but still need to 'apply' for the LCWRA Element to be included.

See standard letter LCW16.

And where a claimant is pension age and gets PIP or DLA they will be treated as having a LCW and so if they or their partner is working should be entitled to a work allowance and if applicable childcare costs element

See standard letter LCW17.

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