Daily living - Activity 4: Washing and bathing

Activity 4 considers a claimant’s ability to wash and bathe. ‘Washing’ means cleaning ones whole body, including removing dirt and sweat. ‘Bathing’ means getting into and out of either a standard bath or shower. Shower can include shower attachments for a bath. 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 4 are -

  1. Can wash and bathe unaided. 0 points
  2. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to wash or bathe. 2 points
  3. Needs supervision or prompting to be able to wash or bathe. 2 points
  4. Needs assistance to be able to wash either their hair or body below the waist. 2 points
  5. Needs assistance to be able to get in or out of a bath or shower. 3 points
  6. Needs assistance to be able to wash their body between the shoulders and waist. 4 points
  7. Cannot wash and bathe at all and needs another person to wash their entire body. 8 points

Source: Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013)


Terms used in the PIP descriptors are defined in regulations and, in relation to Activity 4, 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” means physical intervention by another person and does not include speech;
  • “bathe” includes get into or out of an unadapted bath or shower;
  • “prompting” means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person; 
  • “supervision” means the continuous presence of another person for the purpose of ensuring [the claimant's] safety; 
  • “unaided” means without - (a) the use of an aid or appliance; or (b) supervision, prompting or assistance. 

Source: Regulation 2 and Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013)

See also DWP guidance on Activity 4 from the Personal Independence Payment assessment guide for assessment providers (part 2).

Case law

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