September 2013 - Limited Capability for Work and Gambling Addiction

The claimant had been living in a residential treatment centre for people with gambling addictions but by the time a decision had been made on his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claim, had moved to a ‘halfway house’.  The issues facing the judge were:

Whether the claimant could be treated as having a limited capability for work as someone undergoing medical or other treatment and


Whether the accommodation counted as a hospital or similar institution.


Following the ruling in a previous case (Slavin) the judge held that a tribunal would need to explore questions such as: 

How the appellant was referred to the treatment centre

Who admitted him

What were their professional qualifications

Who had overall charge of the treatment centre and

The claimant’s treatment programme 

As regards the nature of the accommodation, the judge ruled that while it was unlikely to be a hospital, it might be a ‘similar institution’.  He cited official guidance in the Decision Maker’s Guide that an ‘institution caring for former alcoholics, drug addicts or psychiatric patients which provides a degree of medical treatment or rehabilitation by trained nursing staff may be a similar institution as a hospital’.  Even if not a hospital or similar institution, it was possible that the halfway house was somewhere where the claimant was recovering from such treatment.  In addressing that, the tribunal would need to take a common-sense view.

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