Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) provides financial support to people claiming benefits on the grounds of illness or incapacity.
ESA distinguishes two groups of people: those who have limited capability for work (work-related activity group) and those who are unable to work (support group). The Work Capacity Assessment (WCA) determines whether claimants fall into one of these groups.
Crohn's and Colitis UK was involved in the Department of Work and Pensions' Evidence-Based Review of the WCA. This included designing an assessment which takes greater account of fluctuating conditions like IBD and the impact that anxiety and fatigue can have on an individual's ability to work.
What we campaign on...
Whilst Crohn’s and Colitis welcomed the opportunity to be part of the Evidence-Based Review, there is still a lack of understanding of the needs and experiences of people with IBD and their capability for work within the Work Capacity Assessment.
For example, assessing a person with Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis as "fit for work" in a given period does not account for the likelihood of future flares.
Furthermore, the effectiveness of the WCA as a functional assessment of the individual will not be satisfactory until the underlying assumptions on which its design is based are corrected.
For example, someone who has always reached the toilet in time might be assessed as merely at risk. If the same person, the next day, finds the toilet occupied and consequently experiences an episode of incontinence, they would be assessed in a different way though the individual not their functioning ability has changed.
Crohn's and Colitis UK work with the Disability Benefits Consortium to lobby the Government for the necessary changes to the Work Capacity Assessment.
Please contact our Information Service if you have any questions about Employment Support Allowance.