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ISER Working Paper Series 2011-22

The Work Capability Assessment and a “real world” test of incapacity


Publication date

05 Sep 2011


The Work Capability Assessment governs entitlement to the Employment and Support Allowance - the social security benefit for people who are “incapable of work”. It is based on rules which decide entitlement according to the combination of impairments experienced by the claimant. This paper discusses the relative merits of formal regulations and discretionary judgements in the assessment of “incapacity”, and considers the possible introduction of a discretionary (“real world”) test to complement the current rigid scoring system. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research which would shed light on the processes by which claimants are judged incapable of work.


Disability, Social Groups, Labour Market, and Welfare Benefits

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