Aids and appliances

Points can be awarded if an aid or appliance is needed to carry out a daily living or mobility activity. The aid or appliance might improve, provide or replace an impaired physical or mental function. Examples include: modified cutlery, grab rails, incontinence pads, a walking stick or wheelchair. If an aid or appliance is not normally used to help with an activity, it is only taken into account if it is reasonable to expect its use.


The rules relating to aids and appliances are in regulations.

Regulation 2 of the main PIP regulations provides -

“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;

Regulation 4(2) provides -

[The claimant's] ability to carry out an activity is to be assessed - (a) on the basis of [the claimant's] ability whilst wearing or using any aid or appliance which [the claimant] normally wears or uses; or (b) as if [the claimant] were wearing or using any aid or appliance which [the claimant] could reasonably be expected to wear or use.

Source: Regulation 2 and regulation 4(2) of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013), and regulation 2 and regulation 4(2) of SR.No.217/2016 in Northern Ireland.

See also the Personal Independence Payment assessment guide for assessment providers (part 2).

NB - in Scotland, adult disability payment is replacing personal independence payment and the rules on aids and appliances are found in regulation 2 and regulation 7(1) of the Disability Assistance for Working Age People (Scotland) Regulations 2022 (SSI.No.54/2022). See also Descriptor language for Adult Disability Payment from Social Security Scotland

Case law

Commentary: In [2015] UKUT 572 (AAC) Judge Mark ruled that a bed could be an aid for the purposes of getting dressed. However, in [2016] UKUT 197 AAC, Judge Jacobs disagreed finding that, whilst an item did not have to be specifically designed as an aid, it nevertheless must be sufficiently 'connected' to the activity to count as an aid for the purposes of PIP. In [2016] UKUT 501 (AAC), Judge Markus prefers the ‘connection argument’, holding that sitting was a ‘usual and normal’ way to dress which meant a bed was not an aid for dressing or undressing in all but the most exceptional cases.

In [2015] UKUT 547 (AAC) Judge Rowley ruled that an inhaler was not an aid or appliance for Mobility Activity 2 - moving around. Judge Jacobs, in [2016] UKUT 556 (AAC), highlighted that whether something is an aid or appliance must be looked at in the context of the descriptor - something may be an aid for one descriptor but not another. In relation to Activity 3 a device would only be an aid to administer medication if it replaced or improved a person's impaired function to take the medication by some other method.

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