How do you feel about ESA fitness to work tests?
20 July 2012
Have you applied for, or been assessed for, Employment Support Allowance (ESA) this
Perhaps you've had a number of assessments in the past,
including 1 or more this year. Have you noticed any difference?
People with Parkinson's tell us that the assessments are too quick and too simple for a complex condition like Parkinson's.
We're calling on anyone with Parkinson's to tell us their views and recent
experiences for an important review.
Take part in the Work Capability Assessment Consultation
The Work Capability Assessment Consultation runs until 7
There are some different ways you can take part:
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is the benefit which
supports those currently unable to work because of illness or
disability. It has replaced Incapacity Benefit for many people.
Applying for ESA involves a
Work Capability Assessment to judge eligibility for the benefit
and fitness to work.
Lots of people are concerned about the way these fitness to work
tests are carried out as well as the content of the tests
People with Parkinson's tell us that the assessments are too
quick and too simple for a complex condition like Parkinson's.
This means they can fail to take into account where you may have
good days, bad days and periods in the day where it is very
difficult to do anything, let alone work.
The process of the Work Capability Assessment has been examined
independently by a committee led by Professor Malcolm Harrington in
2010 and 2011.
These reviews reported back the issues people face such as
problems with pain, fatigue and fluctuations and made suggestions
for improvement to government.
The government has adopted many of those suggestions such as
explaining the process better and making the tests less impersonal
and better use of evidence.
Meanwhile Parkinson's UK and other charities were also asked to
recommend changes to the tests and claim form for ESA for future
change for those with fluctuating conditions.
You can read more about this work on our welfare reform policy page.
Representing the views of people with Parkinson's
Now, the same review team is looking to see if changes the
government have already adopted have made any difference to the
For example: Were communications clear? How was the face to face
assessment? Did all your medical evidence get taken into
They are really interested to hear from people who may have had
more than 1 assessment so they can judge whether things are
improving for people.
We want to make sure the views of people with Parkinson's are
represented in the review.