Get ready to fill in 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 get Universal Credit and you can’t work because you’re disabled or have a health condition, you’ll usually get an extra form to fill in. The form is called the ‘work capability questionnaire’ or ‘UC50’.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use the form to decide whether you:

  • have to work or look for work

  • don’t have to work, but have to do things to prepare for work - called ‘limited capability for work’ (LCW)

  • don’t have to work or prepare for work - called ‘limited capability for work-related activity’ (LCWRA)

If you’re not sure whether you’ll need to fill in the form, find out who needs to fill in the work capability form.

If you need to fill in the form, there are things you can do beforehand to help you give the DWP the information they need. 

You can:

  • plan how much time you’ll need

  • get evidence to send with the form

  • keep a diary to help you remember what to include

Plan how much time you’ll need

The form can take a long time to fill in. Allow time to take breaks if you can - it’s important to give the DWP enough information so they can make the right decision.

You have to send the form back within 4 weeks after you get it - otherwise the DWP might decide you can work. 

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.

Get evidence to send with the form

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

You should send evidence if it supports what you’re saying on the form. You might have it already - for example:

  • a print-out of the medication you’re on

  • letters from specialists 

  • x-ray results

  • scans

  • a hospital discharge sheet

  • an occupational therapist’s care plan

If you have problems with your mental health, think about any documents or letters you have from someone like your:

  • community psychiatric nurse (CPN)

  • occupational therapist - for example a care plan

  • therapist or counsellor

  • social worker

If you don’t have a diagnosis

You might not have a diagnosis if you have unexplained symptoms like stomach problems, tiredness or dizziness.

If you don't have any evidence to send, ask your doctor if they can give you a letter explaining your condition and how it affects your ability to work. 

Don’t worry that the form says not to ask or pay for new information - you can send new evidence if it helps you show the DWP what your situation is.

If you’re asked to pay for evidence

Some doctors might charge you for a letter or new report.

If you can't afford to pay, it's worth asking for copies of recent medical notes or letters from any specialists they've referred you to - they usually have to give you copies for free. 

You could also send a letter from your partner or carer.

If you’re not sure what evidence you need

You can get advice if you’re:

  • not sure whether you need to send a piece of evidence

  • not sure whether to ask for more evidence to support your case

  • having trouble getting the evidence you need

Talk to an adviser if you’re not sure what evidence you need.

Keep a diary

To make the right decision, the DWP need to know about all the difficulties you have because of your health condition or disability. They want to know about what you can do physically and your mental health.

You could keep a diary before you send the form, so it’s easier to see what you usually do. Don’t delay sending the form while you keep the diary - you can send more information afterwards if you need to.

In the diary, include difficulties you have because of:

  • your health condition or disability

  • medication or treatment you’re having for a condition or disability

  • aids - like a walking stick, hearing aid, guide dog or rails in your home

Don't feel embarrassed about what you do or don’t do. It's fine if you can't do something, or if you need help - but it’s important to tell the DWP. They need to know what you can manage without anyone else's help.

Start filling in the form

When you get the form, it’s important to give the DWP all the information they need to make the right decision. Find out what the form asks about and what to include.

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Page last reviewed on 20 September 2022