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Work-focused health-related assessment

N.B. WFHRAs were suspended from July 2010 due to their having achieved only ‘mixed results’ and because of the increasing backlog of ESA medicals.  It now seems unlikely that they will ever be reintroduced.

Most employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants, except those who are likely to be placed in the support group, have a work-focused health-related assessment (WFHRA).  This is supposed to happen just a few minutes after your work capability assessment medical, but because of a large backlog it often happens at a later date. If you are told at your work capability assessment medical that you have to return at a later date for a ‘second medical’, this isn’t about your eligibility for ESA at all, instead it’s a WFHRA.


The purpose of a work-focused health-related assessment is to assess

(a) the extent to which you still have capability for work,
(b) the extent to which your capability for work may be improved by the taking of steps in relation to your physical or mental condition.

Steps may include such things as a condition management programme for someone with a back problem or cognitive behavioural therapy for someone with social phobia.

Claimants who are assessed as having limited capability for work-related activities are not obliged to take part in a work-focused health-related assessment.

Claimants over 60 years of age will also not be required to attend a work-focused health-related assessment.