Evaluation of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit for new claimants in October 2007. It introduced a new Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which emphasises what work a customer can, rather than cannot, do, and a ‘work-focused health-related assessment’ (WFHRA) which explores customers’ views about moving into work, and examines what health-related support may help this transition. The focus of this evaluation for the Department for Work and Pensions was on people’s experiences of these changes, rather than with their impact on return to work. IES undertook early implementation research with customers and staff in four areas, starting in May 2009, a study of experiences and views of the Work Capability Assessment, and case study research with customers and staff in six areas.