Finish and send the work capability form for Universal Credit

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you can’t work because you’re disabled or have a health condition, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) usually send you an extra form to fill in. The form is called the ‘work capability questionnaire’ or ‘UC50’.

The DWP use the form to decide if you need to work or get ready to work.

If you haven’t filled in the rest of the form yet, find out how to start the form.

Check when to return the form

You need to send the form back within 4 weeks after you got it - otherwise the DWP might decide you can work. Check the letter that came with the form for the exact date.

If it’s more than 4 weeks since you got the form, you should still fill it in and send it as soon as you can. The DWP might accept it if there’s a good reason you couldn’t send it earlier.

If you’re getting cancer treatment

You should fill in the next sections if you also have other health conditions or disabilities.

If you don’t have other health conditions or disabilities, you can skip the question on page 18 about a face-to-face assessment. You should still fill in pages 22 and 23.

You’ll need to ask your doctor or someone else who’s treating you to fill in the last page of the form. They can fill it in before you’ve finished the rest of the form.

Then you’ll need to:

  • get your medical evidence

  • send the evidence and form

If you have other conditions or disabilities

The last section is on pages 18 to 24.

This section asks if you’re happy for your doctors and the DWP to share information with each other about your health or disability.

The section also asks what support you’d need to go to a face-to-face assessment. The DWP usually ask you to do a medical assessment to help them decide if you can work or prepare for work. 

The assessment might be face-to-face, by phone or by video call. The DWP will decide which kind of assessment to do based on what you tell them on the form.

Tell the DWP what support you need

It’s important to tell the DWP about anything that would help you do the assessment. If you miss the assessment, the DWP might decide you can work.

Use the box on page 19 to tell the DWP about the support you need.

Check if any of the support on pages 19 and 20 of the form would help you.

Also think about any other support you’d need to:

  • travel to the assessment, and get home afterwards

  • wait for the assessment once you’re there - for example on a chair in a waiting room

  • go to the assessment room - for example going up or down stairs

  • answer questions in the assessment about your health or disability

For example, you can ask for a phone or video assessment if you can’t travel on bad days, or if you find it easier to talk to new people on the phone.

If you couldn't do a phone or video assessment, you can ask for an assessor to come to your home. The DWP will only agree if you can’t do the assessment another way, so you’ll need to give them evidence to show why you can’t travel. For example, you could give them a letter from your GP or another medical professional. If you don’t have evidence yet, you can send it after the form.

Get medical evidence

You can send medical evidence of your condition or disability with the form. Medical evidence can give the DWP a better idea of how your condition affects your ability to work.

Write your National Insurance number on every page of the evidence you send.

If you don’t have all the evidence yet, send the form anyway. You can send more evidence later.

If you’re not sure what evidence to send or how to get it, check what evidence to send.

Sending evidence later

It’s worth sending any extra evidence as soon as possible, so the DWP get it before they make their decision.

When you send the evidence, include a letter telling the DWP:

  • your name

  • your National Insurance number

  • that the evidence supports your Universal Credit claim

  • the date you sent your form, if you know it

Send any extra evidence to the Health Assessment Advisory Service, not to the Jobcentre. You can get the address of your local Health Assessment Advisory Service on their website. You can also get the address by calling 0800 288 8777 for free.

Send the form back

Use the prepaid envelope that came with the form - it’s addressed to the Health Assessment Advisory Service. Don't take the form to the Jobcentre, as this could cause delays. 

You need to send the form back within 4 weeks of getting it. 

Ask the Post Office for free proof of postage so you can prove when you sent the form.

Sending the form back after 4 weeks

You should still fill in the form and send it as soon as you can. The DWP might accept it if there’s a good reason you couldn’t send it earlier.

Use the box on page 3 to explain why you're sending the form back late. Include as much detail as you can - for example if you:

  • didn't get the reminder letter - if this happens, check your work coach has your correct address

  • have been in hospital

  • were too ill

  • had an emergency at home

  • had a bereavement

  • were out of the country

If the DWP say you have to work because the form was late, you can challenge their decision. You’ll need to challenge it within a month. Find out how to challenge the DWP’s decision.

After you've filled in the form

After you return your form, the DWP might ask you to go to a medical assessment.

The DWP will send you a letter saying when and where the assessment is. It might be a few months after you return your UC50 form. 

They should tell you the date at least 7 days beforehand.

Before you go to the assessment, find out what happens at the assessment and how to prepare.

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Page last reviewed on 01 December 2022