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21 January, 2021 Open access

DWP has ‘no plans’ to extend time limit for payment of contributory ESA where claimants have reached 365-day limit but not had work capability assessment

However, Minister confirms that there is a ring-fenced operational team working on progressing those claims in absence of face-to-face assessments

There are 'no plans' to extend the time limit for payment of contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) where claimants have reached the 365-day limit for payment but have not yet had a work capability assessment (WCA), the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson has confirmed.

In a written question in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State was asked if she would extend the time limit for those claiming contributory ESA - which is set at 365 days unless the claimant has been placed in the support group - if they have not yet undergone a WCA.

NB - face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits have been suspended since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Responding on the Secretary of State's behalf yesterday, Mr Tomlinson said -

'There are no plans to extend the time limit for people claiming contributory ESA who reach their 365-day limit and have not had a WCA.'

However, he added that -

'... we now have a ring-fenced operational team in place to identify contributory ESA claims that we can progress in the absence of face-to-face assessments – for instance, those where further evidence might exist on other DWP benefit systems. If claimants have further evidence they think might help progress their claim, they should contact the Department.'

Mr Tomlinson's written answer is available from