Skip to Content
Back to A-Z Help pages index

Treated as having limited capability for work

If you are claiming Universal Credit or New-Style Employment and Support Allowance, in some situations you can be treated as having a limited capability for work without needing to have a Work Capability Assessment. These situations are listed below.

Terminal illness

If you are terminally ill and not expected to live for more than 12 months you will not need to have a work capability assessment. The timeframe was six months until 3 April 2023 in England, Scotland and Wales and 4 April 2022 in Northern Ireland.

Receiving certain treatments

You may not need a work capability assessment if you are:

  • having regular weekly haemodialysis for chronic renal failure
  • having plasmapheris
  • having or likely to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • having regular weekly total parenteral nutrition for gross impairment of enteric function
  • having medical or other treatment as an in-patient in a hospital or similar institution, after a health care professional has advised that you need to stay in hospital overnight or for longer
  • recovering from any of the above treatments

When the law prevents you working

You may not need a work capability assessment if you are prevented by law from working because you have been in contact with certain infections or contaminants and have been, or are likely to have been, infected or contaminated.

Risk to self or others

If you have an illness, disease or disablement that could cause a substantial risk to your physical or mental health or that of someone else you may not need a work capability assessment. This can include pregnancy where the effect of work could cause a risk to you or your unborn child.

This category does not apply if the risk could be reduced significantly by:

  • reasonable adjustments being made in your workplace
  • you taking prescribed medication to manage your condition

Life-threatening disease

If you have a life-threatening disease which cannot be controlled by any recognised therapeutic procedure you may not need a work capability assessment.

Disabled and over the age for state Pension Credit

If you have reached state Pension Credit age and are entitled to Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment you will not need to have a work capability assessment for Universal Credit.

What you will need to do

If you have a terminal illness you should ask your GP or specialist to provide a completed DS1500 form giving details about your situation. This will form part of the information the Department for Work and Pensions uses when deciding whether or not you have Limited Capability for Work.

If you fit into one of the other categories you should explain how your conditions affect you when filling in your Universal Credit claim form. If you are already receiving Universal Credit inform your work coach.

You are likely to be asked to submit a statement from your doctor, or other therapist, as evidence of your condition.