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.  UKUT 152 (AAC) has since confirmed that for decisions made before 16 March 2017,  UKUT 531 (AAC) should still be followed.
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.
Following a journey includes both navigation and ability to make progress which may be limited if a person experiences overwhelming psychological distress
-  UKUT 531 (AAC)
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)