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Q3 - reaching

This advice applies to Scotland

This question is on the bottom of page 8 of the form - see what it looks like

ESA50 example form

How to answer the question

This question is about whether you can reach up with either arm, above waist height. It isn't about reaching down or to the side.

Think about whether it's hard for you to:

  • wash or brush your hair
  • dress your top half
  • hang out washing
  • get something out of a high cupboard

Don't feel embarrassed about your answers - if you find it hard to raise your arms it's important for the DWP to know this.

"Can you lift at least one of your arms high enough as if to put something in the top pocket of a coat or jacket while you're wearing it?"

  • No
  • Yes
  • It varies

When deciding how to answer it might help to think about:

  • how difficult you find it to reach to a pocket
  • whether you could do it more than once, and what would happen if you tried to do it repeatedly
  • whether reaching to a jacket pocket would cause you pain, how severe that pain is, and how it would affect you

"Can you lift one of your arms above your head?"

  • No

  • Yes

  • It varies

When deciding how to answer it might help to think about:

  • how difficult you find it
  • whether it would cause you pain, how severe the pain is, and how it would affect you
  • whether you could do it more than once, and what would happen if you tried to do it repeatedly

What to write in the box

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

Use the blank box to explain what happens when you try to raise your arms. For example:

  • if you always struggle, or if the way your condition affects you changes - for example 4 out of 7 days
  • how it feels when you try to raise your arms
  • if it causes you pain, how severe the pain is and how it affects you
  • if you need help from someone else for certain things - like washing your hair
  • how often you need help, and what you need help doing
  • if you have good days and bad days, and how they differ
  • what happens if you try to reach up on a bad day

Example

Stephen says: "I have limited movement in my shoulders and can't reach to take things out of the cupboards. My husband leaves me a sandwich on a plate on the work surface for my lunch. He also has to brush my hair for me every day. If I try to do it myself it's too painful. I've had my hair cut short so that it's easier for my husband to brush."

Next steps

Question 4: Picking up and moving things

Back to Help filling in your ESA form

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