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Work Capability Assessment Referrals

Volume 688: debated on Monday 25 January 2021

What recent estimate she has made of the average time her Department takes to process a work capability assessment referral. (911279)

Although face-to-face work capability assessments remain temporarily suspended, we are conducting paper-based assessments where possible. We have also introduced telephone assessments and are trialling video assessments. We closely monitor processing times, and are prioritising new claims and changes of circumstances.

In its latest briefing, the Child Poverty Action Group has highlighted the plight of universal credit claimants whose work capability assessments have been delayed indefinitely because they require a face-to-face assessment. These claimants have gone months without hundreds of pounds of extra support, which they need. What assurances can the Minister provide these claimants about when they will be able to access this element of universal credit?

We are doing absolutely everything we can to ensure that claimants are accessing the support as quickly as possible, which is why we introduced at pace telephone assessments and now video assessments. Wherever possible, we are also conducting paper-based assessments. We continue to do all we can, and we will return to include face-to-face assessments as soon as it is safe to do so.