8 March 2018: Median clearance time from initial ESA claim to DWP work-capability assessment decision is 19 weeks

Median clearance time from initial ESA claim to DWP work-capability assessment decision is 19 weeks
New DWP figures also show that the median time taken by assessment providers from receiving an initial referral from the DWP to making a recommendation is 14 weeks

The median clearance time for an initial employment and support allowance (ESA) claim registration to a final DWP work-capability assessment decision is 19 weeks, according to new DWP statistics.

In ‘Employment and Support Allowance Work Capability Assessments, Mandatory Reconsiderations and Appeals’, the DWP includes experimental data on monthly median end-to-end clearance times (that include time taken to complete mandatory reconsideration that follows the initial decision), reporting that –

clearance times had reduced by nearly half in September 2017 compared to a peak of 38 weeks in August 2014;
assessment provider clearance times followed a similar pattern, reaching their peak in July 2014 at 32 weeks and then falling to stand at 14 weeks in September 2017; and
the median time taken by the DWP from receiving an assessment provider recommendation to making a decision varied between less than a week and up to two weeks between July and September 2017.
NB – the DWP advises, in data tables accompanying the statistics, that the median is presented here instead of the average time taken because the average can be ‘unduly affected by outlying cases’.

In addition, the DWP figures show that for the 100,000 ESA initial assessments cleared in the quarter to September 2017 –

39 per cent were placed in the support group – up 1 per cent since the previous quarter;
19 per cent were placed in the work-related activity group – the same proportion as in the previous quarter; and
41 per cent were found fit for work – down 1 per cent since the previous quarter.
For further details see ESA: outcomes of Work Capability Assessments including mandatory reconsiderations and appeals: March 2018 from gov.uk

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