Incapacity Benefit

Incapacity Benefit is being replaced with Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You’ll be reassessed if you’re already claiming Incapacity Benefit, to decide if you’re capable of work or eligible for ESA.

Reviewing your claim

Jobcentre Plus will send you a questionnaire if you’re going to be reassessed. This will ask you how your illness or disability affects your ability to complete everyday tasks.

  1. Complete this questionnaire and return it by the deadline. Include original medical reports or letters that are relevant - they’ll be returned to you.

  2. Jobcentre Plus will tell you if you need a reassessment meeting - you must go.

  3. If your reassessment shows you’re capable of working, your Incapacity Benefit will stop. Jobcentre Plus will discuss what happens next, including claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

  4. If your reassessment shows you cannot work, you’ll be transferred automatically onto ESA.

Working and Incapacity Benefit

Your Incapacity Benefit is not usually affected if you:

  • do volunteer work
  • work for less than 16 hours a week on average and earn no more than £183.50 a week
  • work and earn no more than £183.50 a week, if your work is done as part of a treatment programme or is supervised by someone from a local council or voluntary organisation
  • work and earn no more than £183.50 a week and are exempt from personal capability assessment

This is called ‘permitted work’.

If your circumstances change

Tell the Jobcentre Plus office dealing with your claim if your circumstances change - this can affect how much you get.

You must also tell them if you start any kind of permitted work.

The benefit cap

The benefit cap limits the total amount of benefit you can get. It applies to most people aged 16 or over who have not reached State Pension age.

Some individual benefits are not affected, but it may affect the total amount of benefit you get.

Living abroad and Incapacity Benefit

Britain has a ‘Social Security Agreement’ with some countries to cover some Incapacity Benefit payments. You may be able to continue getting UK benefits while abroad.

The Social Security Agreement countries are:

  • Barbados
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Jersey and Guernsey
  • Republics of the former Yugoslavia
  • The Philippines
  • Turkey
  • USA

Tell your local Jobcentre Plus well before you leave the UK if you plan to go to another country and get UK Incapacity Benefit. Your UK National Insurance contributions may help you qualify for local benefits depending on the country.

Contact the International Pension Centre to ask about receiving UK benefits while abroad.

Moving back to the UK

You may qualify for Incapacity Benefit if you now live in the UK but worked in a Social Security Agreement country for a UK employer. Some Social Security Agreement countries will pay Incapacity Benefit to you if you lived and worked there but now live in the UK.

Contact the relevant authorities in other countries directly to claim benefit from them.