CW v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (PIP): [2016] UKUT 197 (AAC); [2016] AACR 44

Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeals Chamber decision by Judge Jacobs on 20 April 2016.

Read the full decision in [2016] AACR 44ws.

Judicial Summary

Personal independence payment – daily living activity 6: dressing and undressing – an aid need not be designed, manufactured or sold for purpose of overcoming a limitation or function – must be needed to carry out the activity, not merely to carry it out in a particular manner

The claimant made a claim for a personal independence payment (PIP), as part of the transition from disability living allowance to PIP. The Department for Work and Pensions refused her claim, after considering awarding her the mobility component. The claimant appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (F-tT) which awarded her the mobility component but rejected her argument that she also required a bed as an aid when dressing and undressing. She appealed to the Upper Tribunal (UT) and all parties agreed that the F-tT had erred in awarding the mobility component. The only issue before the UT therefore was whether the F-tT had been at fault in deciding that whilst a chair or bed may aid an individual when dressing they could not be considered aids for the purposes of dressing.

Held, dismissing the appeal, that:

  1. an aid did not have to be specifically designed, made or sold for the purpose of overcoming a limitation or function. Whatever the purpose for which the item was designed or sold, it was being used as an aid: NA v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (PIP) [2015] UKUT 572 (AAC) (paragraph 18);

  2. in order to be relevant, an aid or appliance must relate in some way to the particular activity (the connection argument). An aid must help to overcome consequences of the impairment of a function that is involved in carrying out an activity and is limited by the claimant’s condition. To satisfy an aid or appliance descriptor, the claimant must need an aid to assist in respect of an impairment of a function involved in the activity (paragraphs 19 and 24);

  3. entitlement to a personal independence payment depends on the claimant having a condition that limits their ability to carry out particular activities. The need to use an aid is a measure of the extent of that limitation. Whether something is an aid depends on whether it assists in overcoming the consequences of a function being impaired in the carrying out of that activity. That function must be one that is required in order to carry out the particular aspect of an activity, not merely one of a range of functions that could be employed (paragraph 33);

  4. the tribunal was right, on the evidence, to find that the claimant did not score points for activity 6 as needing to sit does not show an impaired function for carrying out the activity of dressing or undressing, but only for one manner of carrying out the activity (paragraph 35).

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