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Q8: dressing and undressing

This advice applies to Scotland

What this question means

This question is for you to describe any difficulties you have dressing or undressing. This means putting on and taking off unmodified, appropriate clothes (including shoes and socks).

'Appropriate clothes' means clothes that are appropriate for:

  • the weather
  • the occasion
  • the time of day

Try to think about how you get dressed and undressed - including any aids or appliances or help you need from other people. It might help to imagine how you'd manage to get dressed at someone else’s house or in a shop changing room.

Question 8a

Do you use an aid or appliance to dress or undress? 

Aids or appliances could include shoe horns, modified clothing e.g. front fastening bras, velcro fastenings etc

  • yes
  • no
  • sometimes 

Question 8b

Do you need help from another person to dress or undress?

  • yes
  • no
  • sometimes

You should probably tick "yes" if:

  • someone reminds you
  • someone encourages you
  • someone supervises you
  • someone stays with you to make sure you’re safe or not at risk
  • someone helps you in any way - it doesn't have to be physical help
  • you need help but don't get it 

Question 8 extra information

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

It’s your chance to give the DWP a true picture of how your condition affects your ability to dress and undress. They'll use this to decide if you get PIP.

You can also use this space to explain what help you need but don't get.

You can't get dressed or undressed on your own

Make clear:

  • if someone else helps you to get dressed and undressed
  • who helps you
  • what they do and why

You should also explain if either getting dressed or undressed makes you tired or causes you pain.

If it takes you at least twice as long as someone without a disability or condition to get dressed and undressed, it’s important to state this. If you have help, you could compare yourself with the person who helps you. 

You have difficulties with some items of clothing

Be specific about who helps you, what they do to help and which items they help with.

There might be some clothes you avoid wearing altogether. For example, if you wear trousers with an elasticated waist as you can’t manage a belt, or cardigans rather than jumpers because you can't lift your arms.

Think about whether you could repeatedly get dressed and undressed if you needed to - for example if you spilled something down your clothes and needed to change when you'd only just got dressed. Think about whether this would make you tired or cause you pain.

If the only footwear you can manage is slip-on shoes, you should explain that. It's also important to state if you need help to get them on or off. The DWP might decide you don't have a problem if you can get slip-on shoes on and off unaided.

If it takes you at least twice as long as someone without a disability or condition to get dressed and undressed it’s important to say this. It might help to compare yourself to someone you know, or your carer if you have one.

You need prompting, reminding or encouraging to get dressed or undressed

Think about whether you don’t get dressed or undressed when other people think you should. This could be for many reasons - perhaps it causes you pain, leaves you exhausted, you can’t face it or it makes you anxious.

If you don’t get undressed when you go to bed or get dressed in the morning, try to explain why and how often this happens. Be specific about being prompted, reminded or encouraged - and who helps you. Here are some examples:

"I suffer from depression and I often feel too low to get dressed. It’s seems like a big effort and I find it hard to be motivated to do it unless my dad comes round and says I should. He usually comes round 2 or 3 times a week - unless he comes I don’t usually get dressed."

"It’s very painful for me to change my clothes. It takes about an hour for the pain in my back to subside afterwards and I have to take painkillers. It’s hard to put myself through it, so if I’m not going out that day I won’t change out of my night clothes."

You need help to choose appropriate clothes to wear

Think about why you need some help to choose which clothes to wear. You should also say who helps you and what would happen it you didn’t have any help. Here are some examples:

"I’m partially sighted and I need help to pick out clothes as otherwise I can end up with something inside out or back to front."

"Due to Michael’s Asperger's he doesn’t appreciate what clothes are appropriate. He sees clothes as purely functional and doesn’t see that some things shouldn’t be worn together, or that a T-shirt is full of holes."

Say if you're not changing your clothes regularly enough and they’re dirty - this can also mean you’re not wearing appropriate clothes. If you ever need prompting or encouraging to get changed or wash your clothes then write this down.

Getting undressed in public or at an inappropriate time

If you’ve ever got undressed in the street or at any other time that other people thought was inappropriate, make sure you put this on your form.

Explain why you think it happened, for example that it was an effect of a specific condition. This can be quite common in people who have dementia.

Aids you use or adapted clothing

Think about the aids you use to get dressed or undressed. It might help to imagine getting dressed at a friend’s house instead of your own.

Cover all the things you use and why you need them - for example, if you can only pull on your clothes with a dressing stick.

Think about how much longer it would take you without an aid. Would it take twice as long or more? Explain if getting dressed and undressed makes you tired or causes you pain.

Here are some examples of aids:

  • a shoehorn
  • front-fastening bra
  • Velcro-fastening shoes
  • dressing stick
  • a leg lifter
  • magnetic buttons
  • open-back or side-opening clothing

Worth knowing

Tell the DWP if you're using an aid to reduce the mental or physical symptoms (like pain, discomfort or tiredness) of getting dressed or undressed. Make it clear it only reduces that feeling and that you still experience it. 

Help with question 9: communicating

Back to Help Filling in your PIP Claim Form

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