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Q2 - standing and sitting

This advice applies to England

This question is on page 9 of the form - see what it looks like

ESA50 example form

How to answer the question

This question is about how your illness or disability affects whether you can change seats, sit and stand.

"Can you move from one seat to another right next to it without help from someone else?"

  • No
  • Yes
  • It varies

Think about whether you'd be able to sit in an adjustable office chair, rather than an armchair or any other type of seat you'd use at home.

If you use a wheelchair, think about whether you need physical help getting from your wheelchair into a different seat or into the car.

Don't feel embarrassed if you have to tick "no", for example if:

  • you'd need someone to help you
  • you'd lose your balance and fall over if someone didn't help you
  • you'd struggle to move seats more than once in a day without help from another person - perhaps because it would be uncomfortable, painful, leave you short of breath or tired

"While you are standing or sitting (or a combination of the two) how long can you stay in one place and be pain free without the help of another person?"

  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to one hour
  • More than one hour
  • It varies

Think about when you're waiting for something like a bus or a doctor's appointment - and whether you have to do things such as get up every 10 minutes to cope with the pain of sitting and standing.

Try not to overestimate how long you can stand, sit, or sit and stand for.
For example if you're sitting on a chair at home you might need to stand up after a few minutes, but not notice how often you're doing it.

Don't feel embarrassed if you have to tick "less than 30 minutes", for example if:

  • you can't stand for that length of time unless you have 2 sticks or crutches - and you also can't sit for 30 minutes
  • after 30 minutes you'd be in pain, but you'd force yourself through it

What to write in the box

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

You should explain things like:

  • if it's difficult for you to change from standing up to sitting down, or from sitting to standing - and what makes it difficult for you
  • if you'd need to do something after sitting or standing for too long, for example relieve the pain by laying down
  • what problems you have when you sit or stand for too long - such as feeling sick, tiredness, trouble breathing, muscle pain or joint pain
  • why you have problems, for example your bad back makes it hard to balance
  • whether there are positions you can't sit in because they cause you pain


Natalie says: "I was in a car crash last year and damaged my back. I use a walking stick to get around most of the time. I have trouble finding a comfortable position so can't sit or stand for long. I need to get up and move around every 15 to 20 minutes otherwise I'll seize up."

Next steps

Question 3: Reaching

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