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Committee writes to Minister for Disabled People on delays to Workplace Capability Assessments

29 April 2021

The Work and Pensions Committee Chair Stephen Timms writes to Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson asking what action the Government is taking to address delays to Workplace Capability Assessments (WCA).

The letter raises concerns about the ‘exceptionally long waits for assessments’ some people applying for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit have been experiencing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of face-to-face assessments more than a year ago. This affects people who DWP has decided cannot have their claims assessed on paper or by telephone.

Previous correspondence from the Minister failed to answer the Committee’s specific questions on the number of people affected, waiting times and the reasons behind the lack of progress on conducting remote assessments for these claimants.

Rt Hon Stephen Timms, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“DWP has left some disabled people in an impossible situation: they can’t have a face-to-face assessment, while they are also told a decision on their claim can’t be made over the phone. Instead, they’ve simply been left in limbo, forced to get by on less money than they are entitled to, in some cases for more than a year—at a time when we know living costs have been higher than ever for disabled people. So far, the Minister hasn’t even told us how many people have been affected.

We all know that DWP has been under enormous pressure this year. But there has been a disappointing lack of urgency in addressing this problem. It’s high time the Government fixed this.”

Further information

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