Repeat claims for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Before 30 March 2015 if you failed the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and you reclaimed ESA you could be entitled to ESA immediately (pending a new WCA assessment) if your new claim was more than six months after your first WCA failure, even if your condition had not changed. This was known as the ‘six-month rule’.
New rules were introduced on 30th March 2015 which now end the ‘six month rule’ for reclaiming ESA.
If on or after 30 March 2015 you are reclaiming ESA after failing the Work Capability Assessment you will now not be able to claim for ESA again if you are found to be capable of doing some work after your Work Capability Assessment(WCA).
There are some exceptions when a new ESA claim will be allowed, the main situations are where;
There are other exceptions that may apply in certain circumstances.
If you have failed the WCA and you want to reclaim ESA it is essential that you seek advice from an experienced adviser before making a new claim to check if you fall into any of the exceptions groups which would enable you to reclaim. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find details of local advice agencies in your area.
Getting ESA whilst appealing
On or after 30 March 2015 if you are appealing against a decision that you have failed the Work Capability Assessment(WCA), then depending on the facts, you can still be treated as having limited capability for work and so be entitled to ESA whilst appealing in the following situations;
if the WCA failure that you are appealing against is the first such failure (or the first since a previous decision that you passed the WCA),
where the WCA failure that you are appealing is the second or subsequent WCA failure and your condition has got significantly worse or you have a new health condition.
If you are appealing an ESA decision made before 30 March 2015 you can still get ESA whilst appealing, even if you had a second or subsequent WCA failure.
You must seek advice from an experienced adviser if you intend to appeal against an ESA decision. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find details of local advice agencies in your area.