The assessment for incapacity benefit will be radically reformed to take more account of mental health, learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorder.
The government has accepted the recommendations of a review, published this week, which called for a revamp of the personal capability assessment (PCA).
It found the current system for assessing mental capability did not refer to ability to learn and inadequately assessed social and interpersonal skills. It also concluded that the scoring system, which determines eligibility, appeared to set a higher bar for people with mental rather than physical impairments.
It proposed a wider set of criteria for assessing mental capability and aligning the scoring systems for physical and mental assessments.
These will be tested from this month, and changes will come into force next year.
The Department for Work and Pensions is also examining how the PCA can be revised to assess how people can be helped back to work.