Incapacity Benefit

Incapacity Benefit is being replaced with Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
You will be reassessed if you are already claiming Incapacity Benefit, to decide if you are capable of work or eligible for ESA.

Reviewing your claim 

Jobcentre Plus will send you a questionnaire if you are 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 will 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 are capable of working, your Incapacity Benefit will stop. Jobcentre Plus will discuss what happens next, including claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (external link)
  4. If your reassessment shows you cannot work, you will be transferred automatically onto ESA.  
Your Incapacity Benefit is not usually affected if you: 
  • do volunteer work 
  • work for less than 16 hours a week on average and earn up to £131.50 a week 
  • work and earn up to £131.50 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 up to £131.50 a week and are exempt from personal capability assessment 
This is called permitted work. 

If your circumstances change 

Tell the Jobcentre Plus (external link) 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 (external link) 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 (external link)
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 (external link) 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.