Mobility - Activity 1: Planning and following a journey
Activity 1 considers a claimant's ability to follow the route of a familiar or unfamiliar journey as well as to plan and undertake a journey. As with all the other activities, a claimant is to be assessed as satisfying a descriptor only if they can do so reliably.
The descriptors for Activity 1 are -
- Can plan and follow the route of a journey unaided. 0 points
- Needs prompting to be able to undertake any journey to avoid overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant. 4 points
- For reasons other than psychological distress cannot plan the route of a journey. 8 points
- For reasons other than psychological distress cannot follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without another person, assistance dog or orientation aid. 10 points
- Cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant. 10 points
- For reasons other than psychological distress cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid. 12 points
Source: Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013) as amended (with effect from 16 March 2017) by regulation 2 of the Social Security (Personal Indepence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI.No.194/2017)
Terms used in the PIP descriptors are defined in regulations and, in relation to Activity 2, are -
- “aid or appliance” - (a) means any device which improves, provides or replaces [the claimant's] impaired physical or mental function; and (b) includes a prosthesis;
- “assistance dog” means a dog trained to guide or assist a person with a sensory impairment;
- “orientation aid” means a specialist aid designed to assist disabled people to follow a route safely;
- “prompting” means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person;
- “psychological distress” means distress related to an enduring mental health condition or an intellectual or cognitive impairment;
- “unaided” means without - (a) the use of an aid or appliance; or (b) supervision, prompting or assistance.
Commentary: Four judgments -  UKUT 344 (AAC),  UKUT 386 (AAC),  UKUT 694 (AAC) and  UKUT 531 (AAC) have considered the meaning of to plan and follow a journey (descriptors c, d, and f). In the latter judgment, a three-judge panel concluded that the descriptor could be met by a person experiencing overwhelming psychological distress. However, from 16 March 2017 the government amended the regulations to explicitly exclude psychological distress as a means of meeting descriptors c, d. and f.
In  UKUT 420 (AAC) Judge Jacobs confirms that, although the DWP guidance on Activity 1 defines a journey as being a 'local' journey, the legislation does not state this and there is therefore no requirement for the descriptor to be assessed in relation to a local journey.
For the purposes of Activity 1 a journey does not need to be local / illiteracy that does not arise from a mental condition is irrelevant
-  UKUT 420 (AAC)
Requirement to consider the ‘reliability’ criteria when assessing mobility descriptors / Whether a satnav can be an ‘orientation aid’ when following a route
-  UKUT 304 (AAC)
Claimant with visual impairment and light sensitivity entitled to enhanced rate of PIP mobility component / Whether an eye patch is an orientation aid
-  UKUT 240 (AAC)