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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Work capability issues and ESA  →  Thread

Delays with work capability health assessments UC

Aurelia
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PA Housing

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I have recently started assisting someone who has completed their UC50 in mid May 2021 and they are still waiting for a health assessment. They first declared they were unfit for work 14/4/21. We have contacted both UC and centre of health and disability and have been advised there is a backlog. We have now made a complaint about the delay and have had a response, UC have contacted the CHAD and been advised there a backlog which has to be looked at in date order. We dont have any supporting medical information yet as there is a charge from the doctor and would look at requesting her medical records - I would be concerned due to having no medical evidence about asking to making a claim on the papers. Is there anything further that can be done to speed up making a decision on LCW?

Peter Donohue
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Salford Welfare Rights

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there has been quite a bit of discussion on this particular subject over the course of the pandemic as the delays to WCA have hit home.

These have been difficult delays - especially where the benefit is contribution based /new style ESA, where it only lasts for 52 weeks until the WCA is completed and LCWRA is found ......my tactic to try to speed up the process to a decision has involved using the local MP to put on pressure .....this has worked in some cases.

However, in a UC or an IRESA case (especially a first time WCA) /in certain circs where there might be a greater risk of the claimant being found fit for work after a WCA or even where the likely outcome might be merely to have LCW only (and not LCWRA/thus no additional element due), then the delay in completing WCA does not in that sense really prejudice the claimant at all as they will reman on basic assessment phase UC with no conditionality for as long as it takes DWP.

If it is a delayed WCA after already previously being found LCWRA then they will keep the LCWRA element until the latest WCA is completed…so again no prejudice in the delay as such.

of course I should add that any LCWRA element eventually assessed as being found thru the WCA ...however long it takes ...should be backdated to day 92

[ Edited: 23 Aug 2021 at 10:45 am by Peter Donohue ]
Jo_Smith
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Peter Donohue - 23 August 2021 10:39 AM

the delay in completing WCA does not in that sense really prejudice the claimant at all as they will reman on basic assessment phase UC with no conditionality for as long as it takes DWP.

Hi, I understood that claimant will be in AWRR group until there is a LCW/LCWRA decision (unless they have other exemptions, like carer, child under 1 etc), so in my experience this is one of the issues caused by the delays- clients being called by their work coaches and hassled about looking for/being available for work. There are some work coaches who are unfamiliar with health-related easements.

Peter Donohue
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Salford Welfare Rights

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Jo_Smith - 23 August 2021 12:48 PM
Peter Donohue - 23 August 2021 10:39 AM

the delay in completing WCA does not in that sense really prejudice the claimant at all as they will reman on basic assessment phase UC with no conditionality for as long as it takes DWP.

Hi, I understood that claimant will be in AWRR group until there is a LCW/LCWRA decision (unless they have other exemptions, like carer, child under 1 etc), so in my experience this is one of the issues caused by the delays- clients being called by their work coaches and hassled about looking for/being available for work. There are some work coaches who are unfamiliar with health-related easements.

...if that is your experience, then I bow to that experience (and of course worth looking out for).........However, my own experience is as I have stated

UB40
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I quote from the UC Health and Work Masterclass ’ Universal Credit claimants who present themselves as having a health condition are placed in the Intensive Worksearch Regime whilst awaiting a WCA. During this period, they can be required to attend interviews with their Work Coach and to participate in work related activities, any work related requirements will be tailored. We expect most claimants to be doing something’.
AWRR includes the Intensive and Light Touch regimes.
Hope this helps .

Jo_Smith
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Yep. And this is why delays with assessments are not only about delayed payments but also about seriously ill people being called by work coaches who do not have confidence to use their discretion.

Aurelia
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Thank you all for your responses. In this particular case they are not been made to look for work or attend the job centre however am working with someone else who has completed a UC50 and waiting for health assessment. He is being asked to attend the job centre to attend a work search interview. He has mobility problems and is very difficult to attend the job centre. He does not read and write and is struggles to use his journal. We contacted UC to request to get his claimant commitments varied and spoke to an operative working at home who advised they were working for Serco. We dont know if the message has been passed onto job centre that he cannot attend. Prior to covid we could speak to local service centres when we called and issues would be resolved. Now we often speaking to people at UC who are at home, sometimes the notes are not updated and information is not passed on. I was quite surprised to learn the telephone service had been contracted out to Serco.

UB40
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I would steer clear of the telephone service if you can especially if you are being connected to Serco. One of the advantages of being in the AWRR is that the claimant has a named Work Coach based in the local Jobcentre. Your claimant should not be hauling himself into the Jobcentre whilst awaiting a Health Assessment. I would request via a Journal message labelled to the Work Coach that he has phone interventions. You could also mention that Disability is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. It may also be a good idea when your client sends the Journal message to give you ‘explicit consent’ to represent him as there have been instances where the DWP requests this on a weekly if not daily basis. Hope this helps.