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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) toolkit


This activity looks at your ability to read and understand signs, symbols and words in your native language.

Image: Woman sitting with a young child, reading a newspaper.

Questions relevant to sight loss

The descriptors (legal tests) are:

Needs to use an aid or appliance, other than spectacles or contact lenses, to be able to read or understand either basic or complex written information.

Points: 2

Cannot read or understand signs, symbols or words at all.

Points: 8

More information to help you answer the questions

To be considered able to read, you must be able to see the information. Accessing information via Braille is not considered as reading for this activity.

Basic information is signs, symbols or dates written or printed in standard sized text in your native language. Complex information is more than one sentence of written or printed standard size text – for example, text found in utility bills and bank statements.

Consideration should be given to whether you can read and understand information both indoors and outdoors. Whether you use or could reasonably be expected to use aids or appliances, such as a blue screen to read text when indoors and a portable magnifying glass to do so when outdoors will be considered. If despite aids you cannot read both indoors and outdoors you should be able to score points from one of the descriptors.

Top tips

When answering the questions think about -

  • Do you use aids to help you read?  A magnifier? Software packages that read text to you? Low vision aids? Assistive technology? Lighting? Anything else?
  • Do you need someone to read your correspondence to you?
  • Do you need help to locate and read street signs or shop names?
  • Can you read menus in public cafes or restaurants, or do you need someone to read them for you?
  • Can you read timetables at railway or bus stations or at bus stops?

You should put your answers to these questions in the section on the form called "Extra information".