Disability Assessments

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Health Assured team

12 February 2019

Your health plays an important role in your ability to carry out tasks effectively at work.

In terms of employment, it’s not uncommon for employers to require some form of work capability assessment.


What is a disability assessment?

The Health Assessment Advisory Service (HAAS) carries out health and disability assessments. It forms part of the requirements by the Department of Work and Pension (DWP).

It's targeted at those claiming benefits as a result of a disability or injury. The aim is to understand how an illness or disability may affect the daily life of an individual.


Types of assessments

  • Employment and support allowance (ESA) and work capability. Focuses on how a condition or illness affects day-to-day duties.
  • Universal credit (UC) and work capability. Aimed at low income or out of work individuals.
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA). A tax-free benefit for disabled individuals under 65. Provides financial support with extra costs caused by a disability.
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) medical. Provides support to employees that are ill or disabled because of a workplace accident.
  • Veterans UK. These assessments advice on any disability arising from injuries or illness acquired serving in the armed forces.


Workplace needs assessment

This is an impartial assessment of the workplace carried out by a qualified dyslexia specialist. The purpose of this assessment is to identify solutions to difficulties experienced by an employee with dyslexia. An average assessment of the workplace includes gathering information about workplace difficulties, the working environment and adjustments already in place.

While assessments normally happen up to three weeks after booking, the timeframe may vary deepening of the location of the assessment centre.

After the assessment, the specialist will compile a comprehensive report detailing the findings and offering recommendations on suitable adjustments.


Completing a disability assessment form

Those applying for a for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) may receive a capability for work questionnaire (ESA50 form). Fill the form and return it by the date on the letter attached (usually four weeks from date of receipt).

The DWP uses this information to determine if an individual should come in for a face-to-face assessment. The form will require the details of specialists, doctors and other professionals familiar with your medical history. It'll also need a list of existing conditions, illness and other disabilities.

Remember to include evidence of reports, scans, audiology and any other information that relates to your case. Remember to sign, date and return the form in the envelop attached.

If you're not able to send back the completed form within the given time-frame, the DWP may not be able to continue with benefits payments.


Disability assessment criteria

The criteria are set by the government and guided by the Department for Work and Pensions.

After sending the form off, you should receive a letter with the date, time and directions to the disability assessment centre. There’ll also be information on how to change or cancel appointments. You can make special requirements, claim expenses or request a home visit.

You’ll need to bring proof of identity, any information on your GP and any medication you may be taking. When you arrive at the centre, you have to identify yourself by showing your ID.

Although there’s no set time for appointments, they’re estimated to last between 20 minutes and 1 hour depending on the type of claim you’re making.


What happens in a disability assessment?

It begins with an interview. They'll ask about details of your illness or injury, how it affects your daily life, mood and emotions. The assessment may also include physical examinations like a hearing test, blood pressure and more if required.

Using the criteria set out by the DWP, the healthcare professional will create an impartial report to send to the DWP decision maker.

The report will provide justified medical advice. It'll highlight the issues brought up by the individual's medical condition.

The report will include any observations made by the healthcare professional. It also includes the results of any physical examination that took place. The DWP will contact you with the outcome on your claims.

Remember, the professional that conducts your assessments doesn't make decisions about your allowance or benefits.

If you have any questions regarding your claim or the decisions made, you should contact the Department of Work and Pensions.


Disability assessments and your business

In terms of the impact on your business, the results of a disability assessment may require you to make some adjustments around the workplace. You have a duty to change their procedures and remove barriers facing employees with disabilities.

This is referred to as the duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the Equality act of 2010. It’s aimed at ensuring that employees with disabilities are on an equal footing with able-bodied staff members. Examples of reasonable adjustments include;

  • Providing ramps and stairway lifts.
  • Installing automatic doors.
  • Allowing extra breakers through the day.
  • Allowing time off work for hospital appointments and rehabilitation.
  • Allowing flexible working.
  • Reserving parking spaces closer to the office and more.


To find out more information about disability assessments, contact Health Assured free on: 0800 030 5182.

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