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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - activities, descriptors and points

Whether you can get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) depends on an assessment of your ability to carry out ten daily living activities and two mobility activities. These are known as the assessment criteria.

Each activity has a number of descriptors, which describe different levels of ability to carry out the activity. When you're assessed for PIP, a health professional will advise the DWP which descriptors apply to you. Each descriptor carries a number of points, ranging from zero to 12. You'll score a certain number of points depending on which descriptors apply.

The DWP will decide whether you can get PIP, and at what rate, depending on how many points you score.

The PIP regulations contain a table which lists the activities and descriptors you'll be assessed on, and the number of points attached to each descriptor. This page tells you more about the table and how to use it.

Top tips

Can you carry out the activity reliably?

When working out which descriptor applies to you, the health professional must consider for each descriptor whether you can carry out the activity described:

  • safely
  • to an acceptable standard
  • repeatedly
  • in a reasonable time period.

If you can't, then a higher scoring descriptor should apply to you.

More about what carrying out an activity reliably means

The table of activities, descriptors and points

The table is divided into two parts for the ten daily living activities and the two mobility activities. Each activity within these groups has a list of descriptors. These describe different levels of ability to carry out the activity and how much help you need. The table also shows the number of points attached to each descriptor.

Our version of the table uses the exact wording of the PIP regulations, so that you can see how the law applies in your case.

The assessor must interpret the words in the descriptors according to the PIP regulations. To make sure you understand them as well, you can use our guide to the meaning of words used in the descriptors, which is taken directly from the regulations.

How to use the table

The table is designed to be printed off and includes space for you to make notes.

You don't have to refer to the table when you're making your initial claim for PIP. However, it could be helpful if you're providing evidence to support your claim.

It's more likely that you'll need to refer to the table if you're disputing a decision about whether you can get PIP or about what rate you can get. For example, you may want to write down your own assessment of which descriptor you think applies to you under each activity and the reasons why you think it applies.

You can then use these notes in the first stage of your dispute if you decide to ask the DWP to review their decision. This is known as a mandatory reconsideration.

You can also use the table if you're getting evidence from a health or social care professional to support your claim or appeal. You could print off the parts of the table that are relevant to you and ask the person providing evidence to state which descriptor they think applies to you and why.

If more than one descriptor applies to you

If more than one descriptor applies to you during the course of a day, the one with the higher point score will be used.

If you have a fluctuating condition

Your health condition or disability may cause you difficulties that change from day to day, or over the course of a year. If so, special rules are used to work out which descriptor applies to you.

How many points do you need to get PIP

The number of points you score will affect the rate of PIP you get. Each component of PIP can be paid at one of two rates, either:

  • the standard rate, or
  • the enhanced rate.

The daily living component

To get the standard rate of the daily living component of PIP, you must score at least 8 points for daily living activities.

To get the enhanced rate of the daily living component, you must score at least 12 points for daily living activities.

The mobility component

To get the standard rate of the mobility component, you must score at least 8 points for mobility activities.

To get the enhanced rate of the mobility component, you must score at least 12 points for mobility activities.

DWP guidance on the activities and descriptors

The DWP has published detailed guidance for health professionals who carry out PIP assessments called the 'Pip Assessment Guide'. Under the heading 'The Assessment Criteria' there are notes about how to interpret each of the activities and many of the descriptors.

For example, under 'Moving around', the guidance states 'This activity should be judged in relation to the type of surface normally expected out of doors, such as pavements on the flat and includes the consideration of kerbs'.

Although the guidance is not law, you could refer to it if you're disputing how to apply the descriptors in your case. It would certainly be worth looking at if you're challenging a decision.

  • DWP 'PIP Assessment Guide' available at www.gov.uk

Next steps

Other useful information

  • DWP PIP Fact sheet 'Assessment Criteria', available at www.gov.uk

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