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Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2007

Section 11: Work-focused health-related assessments

Section 11 provides that regulations may make provision for imposing on claimants who are entitled to an employment and support allowance, but not so severely disabled as to be unable to engage in work-related activity, a requirement to take part in one or more work-focused health-related assessments.

The work-focused health-related assessment will be carried out by a health-care professional approved by the Department, and it is intended that, where possible, it will follow directly on from the assessments under sections 8 and 9 so that the claimant is only required to attend one appointment. Where it appears to the health-care professional carrying out the section 8 and 9 assessments that the claimant is likely to be a member of the support group, the work-focused health-related assessment is likely to be deferred at that time, pending the outcome of the Department’s decision regarding his capability for work-related activity. The assessment will provide additional information about the claimant’s residual functional capability (what the claimant can still do despite the disabling condition) and information about health interventions that would improve their functional capability.

The advice from the work-focused health-related assessment will be made available to the claimant and to Personal Advisers to support actions to be taken during the main phase of the benefit.

The nature and content of the work-focused health-related assessment and report will be set out in regulations. Subsections (2)(f) and (3) enable regulations to be made which have the effect of providing that if a claimant fails, without good cause, to take part in the assessment, the amount of employment and support allowance payable to him may be reduced. Subsections 2(g) and (h) allow regulations to set out what is to constitute, or be taken into account in determining, good cause.

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