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About your health condition, illnesses or disabilities

This advice applies to England

You have a chance to say more about your illness or disability when you send back your capability for work questionnaire (ESA50 form).

This question is on page 6 of the form - see what it looks like

ESA50 page 6

What to write

You should:

  • make a list of your health problems, illnesses and disabilities - even if you didn’t have them when you first made your ESA claim
  • say when they started (try to estimate the month and the year)
  • say when you were diagnosed (if you have a diagnosis)
  • include health problems, illnesses and disabilities even if you don't have a diagnosis or proof from a doctor 

It’s also a good idea to write on the form:

  • about anything you can’t do that you could do before, for example you used to go jogging but now you can’t
  • how medication affects you, for example whether it’s given you any side effects
  • whether you had to give up work because of your health, and why (for example you can't predict when you’ll feel ill, so your employer couldn't plan your shifts)
  • about your good and bad days, for example if you find it difficult to cope 4 days out of 7 - you have 3 good days a week but the other days are written off as you need to just rest

How your condition varies over time

It’s really important to tell the DWP how your illness or disability varies over time.

If your illness or disability usually follows a pattern (for example you’re bipolar, and you have a cycle of highs and lows that change weekly), you should write this down.

If your patterns are unpredictable, it can be difficult to explain. You could write something like this in the ‘additional information’ box under each question:

“I will explain how my condition affects me day to day under each question in the rest of the form.”

If your condition is linked to drugs or alcohol

If any of your illnesses or disabilities are linked to problems with alcohol or drugs it’s important to write this down.

You should write down what help or treatment you’re getting. If you’re waiting for a referral, or you haven't been offered any help you should say so.

Aids you use

You should write down if you use things like:

  • a walking stick or walking frame
  • grab rails in the bath - say when you had them fitted
  • a wheelchair
  • hearing aids
  • a raised toilet seat
  • visual aids
  • any equipment to help you get dressed

Next steps

Your medication and treatment

Back to Help filling in your ESA form

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