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Q18 - eating and drinking

This advice applies to Scotland

This question is on page 16 of the form - see what it looks like

ESA50 example form

How to answer the question

This question looks at how hard it is for you to eat and drink. The question is also to assess if you can't, or don't want to eat.

"Can you get food and drink to your mouth without help or being prompted by another person?"

  • No
  • Yes
  • It varies

This isn't just about whether you can physically get food or a drink to your mouth - it's also about whether you forget to eat or drink, and if you don't want to eat or drink.

For example you might:

  • forget to eat because of depression
  • avoid eating because it's painful for you to digest food
  • have an eating disorder

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

  • you have problems with mobility in your hands or arms
  • a mental health condition makes you forget to eat, or unmotivated to eat
  • you have anorexia, bulimia or another type of eating disorder
  • you have poor coordination or grip, or you have weakness or shaking
  • you use a feeding tube into your stomach, or a feeding line into your veins

"Can you chew and swallow food and drink without help or being prompted by another person?"

  • No
  • Yes
  • It varies

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

  • you find it hard to chew so mainly consume liquids, like soup
  • eating or drinking makes you cough or choke
  • you bring food back up
  • when you eat it feels like something is stuck in your throat or chest
  • you use a feeding tube into your stomach, or a feeding line into your veins

What to write in the box

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

Explain what problems you have eating and drinking, for example:

  • if someone needs to remind or prompt you to eat or drink
  • if it causes you pain to eat or drink, or makes you feel out of breath
  • if it takes a long time for you to eat or drink because it's physically difficult for you, or you forget what you're doing
  • if someone physically helps you to eat or drink, and how they help you
  • if your condition means you forget to eat or don't want to eat, how this affects you

Example

Christine says: "I have anorexia - I won't eat unless someone is with me. My motivation and concentration is so bad that I often forget about eating for days at a time. I feel sick if I think about eating - it repulses me. I'll eat a little bit if there's someone I know with me, as I know people are worried about how it's affecting my health."

Next Steps

Face-to-face assessment

Back to Help filling in your ESA form

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