Daily Living Descriptor 8 – Not being able to read

In decision CPIP/1769/2016, the Upper Tribunal has restricted the meaning of PIP Descriptor 8.

Descriptor 8 is about ‘reading and understanding signs, symbols and words’.
The Upper Tribunal have said that not being able to read can only be counted for the purposes of PIP if the reason you cannot read is linked to a physical or mental condition limiting your ability to read or which has prevented that person from learning to read.

So for example being blind could prevent you from being able to read, and so could learning disability which means you cannot learn to read. But just being illiterate because you’ve never learnt to read doesn’t count if you are capable of learning to read.


If you have difficulty reading or cannot read, you should say on your claim form or MR which specific condition prevents you from reading. So rather than saying ‘I can only read simple sentences or single words’ you should say ‘I can only read simple sentences and single words because of my learning disability which prevents me from learning to read more difficult sentences’. Or ‘I cannot read at all because I am blind and cannot see the words’.

If you cannot read because of a mental health condition which affects your concentration or motivation, such as depression, you need to be very specific about how much the mental health condition affects you and what sort of things you cannot read.

Remember that the test for reading is quite low – if you can read this post then you cannot claim points for PIP. This analysis is brought to you by BuDS Benefit Information Project.

It is general information only and you should take advice about your specific case.

You can read the full judgement here: