Stephen Timms – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Stephen Timms on 2015-10-27.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how frequently a person with a (a) multiple sclerosis and (b) another degenerative disease should be required to attend an assessment in connection with their claim for (i) employment and support allowance and (ii) personal independence payment.

Priti Patel

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) assesses individuals against a set of functional descriptors not specific conditions, as two people with the same condition can be affected in different ways. This does however take account of how fluctuating and degenerative conditions, such multiple sclerosis, affect a claimant’s ability to work.

A healthcare professional gives advice on when they think a claimants functional capability may have changed sufficiently to trigger a change in the outcome of the WCA. Re-referral dates chosen can be 3, 6, 12, 18, 24 or 36 months depending on when it is considered most appropriate for the claimant to have their next contact with the Department.

Decisions on claims to Personal Independence Payment are made by case managers and are based on advice received from the assessment providers following an assessment, together with any other evidence received. People with a progressive condition, and who are not expected to live beyond six months, are not required to attend a face-to-face assessment and their claims will always be decided on the basis of the evidence received.

Claims to Personal Independence Payment are looked at individually, considering the impact on daily living and mobility of the impairment or health condition, rather than solely basing the decision on the impairment or health condition itself. Award durations and reviews are based on an assessment of whether the individual’s functional abilities are likely to deteriorate, improve or stay the same. Reviews ensure that claimants continue to receive the appropriate level of award throughout their claim, including claimants with degenerative conditions who may get a higher award at review to reflect a deterioration in their condition.