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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) guide

Points system and descriptors

PIP uses a points system to determine if you will be awarded it or not. The points are based on the descriptor that best describes your condition.

A descriptor will apply to you if it reflects your ability for the majority of days meaning over half of them. This is considered over a 12-month period, looking back 3 months and forward 9 months.

Where one descriptor is satisfied on over half the days in that period, that descriptor will apply. Where two or more descriptors are satisfied on over half the days, the descriptor which scores the highest number of points will apply.

PIP does not separate your needs into day-time and night-time needs. Instead, a descriptor can apply to you if your condition affects your ability to complete a task at some stage of the day, on over half the days of the period.

This page outlines each descriptor and the related number of points.

The daily living component

Activity 1 - Preparing food and drink

a. can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided - 0 points

b. needs to use an aid or appliance to either prepare or cook a simple meal - 2 points

c. cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker but is able to do so using a microwave - 2 points

d. needs prompting to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal - 2 points

e. needs supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal - 4 points

f. cannot prepare and cook food - 8 points

Activity 2 - Taking nutrition

a. can take nutrition unaided - 0 points

b. needs either i) to use an aid or appliance to be able to take nutrition, or ii) supervision to be able to take nutrition, or iii) assistance to be able to cut up food - 2 points

c. needs a therapeutic source to be able to take nutrition - 2 points

d. needs prompting to be able to take nutrition - 4 points

e. needs assistance to be able to manage a therapeutic source to take nutrition - 6 points

f. cannot convey food and drink to their mouth and needs another person to do so - 10 points

Activity 3 - Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition

a. either i) does not receive medication, or therapy or need to monitor a health condition, or ii) can manage medication or therapy or monitor a health condition unaided - 0 points

b. needs either i) to use an aid or appliance to be able to manage medication, or ii) supervision, prompting or assistance to manage medication or monitor a health condition - 1 point

c. needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes no more than 3.5 hours a week - 2 points

d. needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 3.5 but no more than 7 hours a week - 4 points

e. needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 7 but no more than 14 hours a week - 6 points

f. needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 14 hours a week - 8 points

Activity 4 - Washing and bathing

a. can wash and bathe unaided - 0 points

b. needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to wash or bathe - 2 points

c. needs supervision or prompting to be able to wash or bathe - 2 points

d. needs assistance to be able to wash either their hair or body below the waist - 2 points

e. needs assistance to be able to get in or out of a bath or shower - 3 points

f. needs assistance to be able to wash their body between the shoulders and waist - 4 points

g. cannot wash and bathe at all and needs another person to wash their entire body - 8 points

Activity 5 - Managing toilet needs or incontinence

a. can manage toilet needs or incontinence unaided - 0 points

b. needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to manage toilet needs or incontinence - 2 points

c. needs supervision or prompting to be able to manage toilet needs - 2 points

d. needs assistance to be able to manage toilet needs - 4 points

e. needs assistance to be able to manage incontinence of either bladder or bowel - 6 points

f. needs assistance to be able to manage incontinence of both bladder and bowel - 8 points

Activity 6 - Dressing and undressing

a. can dress and undress unaided - 0 points

b. needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to dress or undress - 2 points

c. needs either i) prompting to be able to dress, undress or determine appropriate circumstances for remaining clothed, or ii) prompting or assistance to be able to select appropriate clothing - 2 points

d. needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their lower body - 2 points

e. needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their upper body - 4 points

f. cannot dress or undress at all - 8 points

Activity 7 - Communicating

a. can express and understand verbal information unaided - 0 points

b. needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to speak or hear - 2 points

c. needs communication support to be able to express or understand complex verbal information - 4 points

d. needs communication support to be able to express or understand basic verbal information - 8 points

e. cannot express or understand verbal information at all even with communication support - 12 points

Activity 8 - Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words

a. can read and understand basic and complex written information either unaided or using spectacles or contact lenses - 0 points

b. needs to use an aid or appliance, other than spectacles or contact lenses, to be able to read or understand either basic or complex written information - 2 points

c. needs prompting to be able to read or understand complex written information - 2 points

d. needs prompting to be able to read or understand basic written information - 4 points

e. cannot read or understand signs, symbols or words at all - 8 points

Activity 9 - Engaging with other people face to face

a. can engage with other people unaided - 0 points

b. needs prompting to be able to engage with other people - 2 points

c. needs social support to be able to engage other people - 4 points

d. cannot engage with other people due to such engagement causing either i) overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant, or ii) the claimant to exhibit behaviour which would result in a substantial risk of harm to the claimant or another person - 8 points

Activity 10 - Making financial decisions

a. can manage complex budgeting decisions unaided - 0 points

b. needs prompting or assistance to be able to make complex budgeting decisions - 2 points

c. needs prompting or assistance to be able to make simple budgeting decisions - 4 points

d. cannot make any budgeting decisions at all - 6 points

The mobility component

Activity 1 - Planning and following a journey

a. can plan and follow the route of a journey unaided - 0 points

b. needs prompting to be able to undertake any journey to avoid overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant - 4 points

c. cannot plan the route of a journey - 8 points

d. cannot follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without another person, assistance dog or orientation aid - 10 points

e. cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant - 10 points

f. cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid - 12 points

Activity 2 - Moving around

a. can stand and then move more than 200 metres either aided or unaided - 0 points

b. can stand and then move more than 50 metres but no more than 200 metres either aided or unaided - 4 points

c. can stand and then move unaided more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres - 8 points

d. can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres - 10 points

e. can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more than 20 metres, either aided or unaided - 12 points

f. cannot, either aided or unaided, i) stand, or ii) move more than 1 metre - 12 points