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Q10 - staying conscious when awake

This advice applies to England

This question is on page 13 of the form - see what it looks like

ESA50 page 13

How to answer the question

You should answer this question if you have an illness or disability that makes you lose consciousness, or one that affects your consciousness when you're awake, for example:

  • epilepsy
  • diabetes
  • narcolepsy (a condition that makes you fall asleep at inappropriate times)
  • severe migraines

Falling asleep as a result of a medical condition or as a result of treatment for a medical condition doesn't count as losing consciousness.

"While you are awake, how often do you faint or have fits or blackouts?"

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Less than monthly

The DWP wants to know how often you have fits, seizures or blackouts or anything else that severely disrupts your awareness and concentration when you're awake.

They're not interested in what happens when you're asleep - whether at night or during the day.

You might not always completely lose consciousness when you have fits or seizures. It's still important to include them and say how they affect you.

What to write in the box

It's important you tell the DWP more by explaining your situation in the box.

You should explain:

  • if you have any warning that you're about to have a fit or seizure
  • if you've been taken to hospital - say how many times this has happened
  • how long it takes you to recover
  • if you're afraid to go out in case you have a fit or seizure
  • if you've injured yourself or had an accident during a fit or seizure, for example if you've hit your head
  • if your medication gives you side effects - say what they are and what you do about them
  • if you've lost your driving licence (or you've never had one) because of your illness or disability

Write down if, after losing consciousness, you:

  • need to take time to recover, such as going to bed
  • don't know how you'll feel - you may become aggressive or unpredictable
  • are unaware of what's going on around you
  • need someone to care for you


Louise says: "I control my diabetes pretty well but I do have hypos once every 2 or 3 weeks. When I go low I can usually feel it coming and I carry snacks and juice to catch it quickly, but more often than not it happens too fast.

My vision goes blurry and I don't really know what I'm doing - my partner says I talk rubbish and I slur. A couple of weeks ago it happened when I was on the way back from the shop and I collapsed in the street. I don't really know how long it lasts, but I feel teary and spaced out for a while afterwards."

How the DWP assess this question

The DWP look at a list of statements called 'descriptors'. They'll give you a number of points depending on which descriptor applies to you.

The DWP add together all the points you get from the whole form. This means you can qualify for ESA even if you don't get all the points for this question.

Descriptors for question 10


10 (a) At least once a week, has an involuntary episode of lost or altered consciousness resulting in significantly disrupted awareness or concentration.

(b) At least once a month, has an involuntary episode of lost or altered consciousness resulting in significantly disrupted awareness or concentration. 6
(c) None of the above apply. 0

Next steps

Question 11: Learning how to do tasks

Back to Help filling in your ESA form

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