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Social Security Benefits: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 282254, tabled on 25 July 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tailor medical assessments for benefits to take account of the needs of ME sufferers.

Answered on

5 September 2019

Both the assessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) are functional assessments designed to respectively contribute towards the extra costs that arise as a result of a long-term health condition or disability, and to assess an individual’s capability to work. Both benefits are based on the impact of a person’s disability or health condition, not on the condition itself. This is important, as we recognise that the same condition can affect different people in different ways.

Assessors are provided with training and guidance in the full range of health conditions, including ME. For instance, all WCA assessors have access to a learning module on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/ME, that is externally quality assured by an expert clinician. Furthermore, the PIP providers have recently been involved in a programme of engagement with CFS/ME stakeholders, and have developed a comprehensive suite of training products on CFS/ME.