Long-term health condition or disability

Universal Credit: Long Term Condition or Disability

If you report a long-term health condition or disability which is likely to last more than 28 days you may be referred to have a Work Capability Assessment (WCA). This applies whether you are employed or unemployed.

You will need to complete a written questionnaire (ESA50) to give details of your health condition and how it affects your everyday life. This will help th benefits office to decide whether you need to attend a face to face assessment.

Eligibility for a Capability for Work element

Following the WCA, the Department for Work and Pensions will decide which of the following applies to you:

  • you are fit for work
  • you have limited capability for work (LCW) (only for claims made prior to April 2017)
  • you have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA)

If you are assessed as having LCW or LCWRA you will be eligible to get an extra amount of Universal Credit called a capability for work element:

  • where you have LCW you will get the Limited Capability for Work element
  • where you have LCWRA you will get the higher rate, the Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity element

If you have a partner and you both qualify for a capability for work element, only one will be awarded, whichever is higher.

When the LCWRA element is awarded

In most cases, the LCWRA element is awarded after a 3 month waiting period beginning on the day you provide medical evidence. If it takes longer than 3 months to carry out your Work Capability Assessment the element you are awarded will be backdated to this point and you will be paid any amount owing. 

For more information see our guides on certain conditions that automatically qualify you for LCW and conditions that automatically qualify you for LCWRA.


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