To be assessed as able to carry out an activity to the level described in a descriptor, a claimant must satisfy the descriptor “reliably”, that is: safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in reasonable time.


The meaning of "reliably" is defined in regulations.

Regulation 4(2A) of the main PIP regulations provides -

Where [a claimant's] ability to carry out an activity is assessed, [the claimant] is to be assessed as satisfying a descriptor only if [the claimant] can do so - (a) safely; (b) to an acceptable standard; (c) repeatedly; and (d) within a reasonable time period.

Regulation 4(4) of the main PIP regulations provides -

  1. "safely” means in a manner unlikely to cause harm to [the claimant] or to another person, either during or after completion of the activity;
  2. “repeatedly” means as often as the activity being assessed is reasonably required to be completed; and
  3. “reasonable time period” means no more than twice as long as the maximum period that a person without a physical or mental condition which limits that person’s ability to carry out the activity in question would normally take to complete that activity.

Source: Regulation 4 of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013)


Commentary:​ The undefined term ‘to an acceptable standard’ has been considered in a number of cases particularly in relation to how pain affects the ability to complete an activity reliably. In the unpublished case of CPIP/2377/2015 the effects of pain, its severity and frequency, and the extent of any rests, are all considered relevant to the question of whether a claimant can complete a mobility descriptor ‘to an acceptable standard’. The effects of pain are also considered in [2016] UKUT 326 (AAC) where Judge Markus holds that even if someone may be able to carry out an activity repeatedly and within a reasonable time, they still may not be able to complete it ‘to an acceptable standard’ if they do so with difficulties such as pain or breathlessness. | Add commentary or suggest an edit.