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Going to your Universal Credit medical assessment

This advice applies to Scotland

If you can’t work because you’re sick or disabled, you’ll usually have a medical assessment to check if your Universal Credit should change.

If you need an assessment, you’ll get a letter about it after you’ve sent the form about your health condition or disability. The form is called ‘UC50’.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will use the assessment to decide if you:

  • can’t work or get ready to work at all - called ‘limited capability for work-related activity’ (LCWRA)
  • can’t work now, but can get ready to work in the future - called ‘limited capability for work’ (LCW)
  • can work or look for work now

Check when and where your assessment is

You’ll get a letter from the Health Assessment Advisory Service, telling you when and where your assessment is.

You should get at least 7 days’ notice before the assessment.

The assessment might be a few months after you return your UC50 form. You’ll keep getting Universal Credit until the assessment. The amount you get won’t change.

If you’re still waiting for a letter after 3 months, call the Universal Credit helpline or tell your work coach.

Universal Credit helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 328 5644

You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.

Video relay - if you use British Sign Language (BSL).

You can find out how to use video relay on YouTube.

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Check where your assessment is

The letter will tell you if the assessment is:

  • at an assessment centre
  • on the phone
  • on a video call

If you can’t do the assessment the way they’ve told you, you can ask if they’ll do it a different way. You can also ask for other adjustments, or take someone with you to the assessment.

If you need to change the assessment or ask for adjustments

Tell the Health Assessment Advisory Service as soon as you can. If you miss the assessment without telling them, they’ll decide you can work.

You might only be able to change the date once, so make sure you get a date you can go to. For example, you could have your calendar with you when you call, or check beforehand which dates you can’t do an assessment.

You should also ask for any adjustments you’d need - for example to:

  • go up and down stairs
  • get out of a chair in a waiting room
  • move from room to room

If you can’t travel to the assessment centre, you can ask the assessors for a phone or video assessment. You don’t have to give any new evidence to show why you want to change the assessment. They’ll decide based on what you tell them and the evidence you’ve already sent.

If you couldn't do a phone or video assessment, you can ask for an assessor to come to your home. 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.

Health Assessment Advisory Service

Telephone: 0800 288 8777
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 5pm

Email: customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Check what to expect at the assessment

Your assessment will be with an assessor who’s a medical professional - like a doctor, a nurse or a physiotherapist. The DWP call them an ‘approved healthcare professional’.

The assessor will ask you questions and might do a physical examination. They'll send a report to the DWP, who will decide if you need to work or get ready to work.

The assessor will talk to you about your medical history and activities you can do in a single day. They’ll also ask questions to find out how your health condition or disability affects your ability to do a range of everyday activities.

If they want to do a physical examination, they’ll ask your permission. You should do as much of the examination as you feel comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable with anything, say so.

Don’t make yourself do things in the assessment that you wouldn’t normally be able to do. If you do them on the assessment day, the assessor might think you can always do them.

If you want to take someone with you

You can ask someone to come to the assessment with you - for example a friend, family member or care worker.

You might want them to support you, or tell the assessor things for you if you find it difficult. For example, they can talk to the assessor if you have a mental health condition which makes it difficult for you to talk.

They can also take notes so you have your own record of what happened in the assessment. If you need to challenge the DWP’s decision later, you can use the notes to remind yourself about what happened.

If you want your assessment to be recorded

The Health Assessment Advisory Service might be able to make an audio recording of the assessment. For example, you might want them to record it so you can remember what you said later.

If you want your assessment recorded, call the Health Assessment Advisory Service as soon as possible. You can find their contact details on the letter about your assessment.

Health Assessment Advisory Service

Telephone: 0800 288 8777
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 5pm

Email: customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Prepare what to tell the assessor

It’s important to tell the assessor about all the challenges you have, so they can make the right decision.

You can write a list of the things you need to tell them, and use it during the assessment. You’ll need to tell the assessor:

  • what a day is like for you normally
  • how often you have good and bad days
  • what kinds of thing you have difficulty with, or can’t do at all - for example, walking up steps without help, or remembering to go to appointments
  • if something gets harder the more you do it - for example, if you can only do something once a day

For example, the assessor might ask if you go shopping in a supermarket. It’s OK to tell them if you can't do it. It’s also OK if you find it difficult or unpredictable, or you need help. If you don’t tell the assessor, they might assume you can walk around the supermarket on your own whenever you need to.

If you have a copy of your UC50 form, you could check your answers on the form to make sure you don’t forget anything.

If you’re going to an assessment centre

You’ll be assessed as soon as you arrive at the centre. The assessor will also ask about everything you’ve done that day.

For example, they might ask you how you got to the assessment centre. If you say you came on the bus, they’ll make a note that you can travel on public transport. Tell them if:

  • you had any difficulties getting there
  • someone else helped you plan the journey
  • using public transport is sometimes difficult

The assessor might also ask how long you sat in the waiting room before the assessment. If you say ’half an hour’, they’ll make a note that you can sit on an ordinary chair for at least 30 minutes. Tell them if you found it uncomfortable, or if you needed to get up and walk around because you couldn't sit for that long. You should also tell them if you can only manage it on some days.

Plan what else you’ll need at the assessment

You’ll need to show identification at your assessment. A passport is usually best. If you don’t have a passport, you need 3 different types of identification. You can use:

  • your birth certificate
  • your driving licence
  • a recent bank statement that shows your name and address
  • a gas or electricity bill

You should also have with you:

  • any medication you need
  • any aids you use - for example glasses, hearing aids or a walking stick
  • a copy of your UC50 form, if you have one
  • travel receipts and bank details, if you’re going to an assessment centre - this is so you can claim the money back
  • any extra medical information the DWP might not have seen

For example, bring any letters from your GP or specialist that came after you sent your UC50 form. If you’re going to an assessment centre and you need to keep the original letters, take copies for the assessor.

Plan how to get to your assessment

Think about how you’ll get there before your assessment date. You might want to:

  • allow extra time if you find travelling difficult
  • plan your route so you know what to expect - this might help if you find being in public places stressful
  • ask a friend or family member to help you plan the journey if you can’t do it yourself
  • book your travel in advance

Claim back your travel costs

You can get your travel costs paid back into your bank account. The receptionist will help you fill in a claim form.

You can also get the costs for anyone who needs to come with you.

If you need to travel by taxi or you want to claim expenses for someone else, tell the Health Assessment Advisory Service before you book any travel.

If you’re travelling by public transport

You should keep:

  • bus tickets
  • train tickets
  • tram tickets
  • any other tickets or receipts that show you paid to use public transport

If you’re travelling by car

You can claim back your fuel and parking costs. The DWP will decide how much to pay for fuel based on the distance from your home to the assessment centre.

You should keep your parking tickets or receipts.

If you can only travel by taxi

You must call the Health Assessment Advisory Service if you need to get a taxi to the assessment.

A healthcare professional will look at your request and decide if you have a medical need to take a taxi. If they agree, you can claim back your taxi fare.

If your request is turned down before your assessment, the Health Assessment Advisory Service will only pay the cost of getting to the assessment centre on public transport.

If you have a phone or video assessment

If you have a phone or video assessment make sure you’re ready to take this at the agreed time. If your assessor doesn’t call, tell the Health Assessment Advisory Service. You should also tell DWP - add a note in your online account or, if you don’t have one, call the Universal Credit helpline.

Health Assessment Advisory Service

Telephone: 0800 288 8777
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 5pm

Email: customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Universal Credit helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 328 5644

You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.

Video relay - if you use British Sign Language (BSL).

You can find out how to use video relay on YouTube.

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If you can’t go to your assessment

Call the Health Assessment Advisory Service and postpone your assessment. You must have a good reason for not going, for example if you’re ill or have a family emergency.

If you don’t go to your assessment without a good reason and don’t tell the Health Assessment Advisory Service, the DWP will assume you can work.

Health Assessment Advisory Service

Telephone: 0800 288 8777
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 5pm

Email: customer-relations@chdauk.co.uk

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Getting the DWP's decision

The DWP will send you a letter or add it to your online account.

The letter will tell you that you either:

  • have ‘limited capability for work-related activity’ (LCWRA)
  • have ‘limited capability for work’ (LCW)
  • don't have limited capability for work

If they say you have LCWRA

You won't have to work or do anything to prepare for work.

You'll also get extra money with your claim - £390.06 a month.

The extra money will start in your next Universal Credit payment if either:

  • you’re terminally ill
  • you already had LCW or LCWRA from a previous benefit claim

Otherwise, you’ll start getting the extra money in your fourth or fifth payment after you first gave the DWP a fit note. The DWP will add the money to your monthly payments.

If it takes longer for the DWP to decide, they'll backdate your payment so you don't lose out.

If you’ve already moved to Universal Credit from another benefit, your payment might not go up by the whole £390.06. This might happen if you claimed Universal Credit after you:

  • got a letter from the DWP telling you to claim Universal Credit by a certain date - called a ‘migration notice’
  • got a ‘severe disability premium’ with your previous benefit

You might already be getting an extra amount in your Universal Credit. Talk to an adviser to find out how your payments will change.

If you didn’t claim Universal Credit after either of these things, you can check how much Universal Credit you’ll get when the extra money starts.

If they say you have LCW

You won't have to work, but you might need to do some work-related activities.

You'll also get extra money if you've had LCW since before April 2017. You might have had LCW because you were getting either:

  • Universal Credit with LCW
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA) until you claimed Universal Credit

Find out more about the work-related activities you'll need to do on Universal Credit.

If they say you don't have limited capability for work

You’ll need to do any work-related requirements you’ve agreed with your work coach. You can find the requirements in your claimant commitment.

If you think the DWP’s decision is wrong, you can ask them to change it.

If you think the DWP should change their decision

You can ask the DWP to change their decision if you think it's wrong, or if your health condition or disability has got worse.

If you think the decision is wrong

You usually have to contact the DWP within a month after the decision date on your letter. You might still be able to challenge the decision after a month if you couldn’t do it earlier. Find out how to challenge the DWP’s decision.

If the DWP don’t change their decision, you can ask them to change your claimant commitment.

If your condition or disability has got worse

You can ask the DWP for a new assessment. You'll need to send evidence to show that your condition has changed. Find out how to ask for a new assessment.

Check what happens after the decision

The DWP will usually reassess your LCW or LCWRA in future, unless your health condition or disability is permanent.

They might reassess you every 1, 2 or 3 years. They might also reassess you if you start work.

If you’re waiting for a decision

If you haven’t heard anything after 8 weeks, add a note to your online account asking why you haven't had a decision yet. You can also ask for a copy of your report.

If you don’t have an online account, you can call the Universal Credit helpline.

Universal Credit helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 328 5644

You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.

Video relay - if you use British Sign Language (BSL).

You can find out how to use video relay on YouTube.

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

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