UKSSCSC CIB_15804_1996 (12 May 1998)
Mr. D. G. Rice CIB/15804/1996
All work test – person able to walk upstairs normally but able to walk down stairs only one step at a time – whether "can only walk up and down ….. one step at a time"
An adjudication officer found that the claimant did not satisfy the all work test and reviewed the claimant's award of incapacity benefit, deciding that he was no longer entitled to it. On appeal, a tribunal found that the claimant could only move one step at a time when walking down a flight of stairs but they decided that that was not enough to satisfy the descriptor "can only walk up and down a flight of twelve stairs if he goes .. one step at a time." Because the claimant could not go up stairs more than one step at a time. They did not award the claimant any points under that descriptor and dismissed the claimant's appeal because he scored only 14 points on other descriptors. The claimant appealed to the Commissioner.
Held, allowing the appeal, that:
the draftsman had had in contemplation an inability to go up and down a flight of stairs without the necessity at some stage at least to restrict one's movement to one step at a time and accordingly the tribunal had erred in not awarding three points in respect of that descriptor.
The Commissioner substituted his own decision to the effect that the claimant satisfied the all work test and remained entitled to incapacity benefit.
DECISION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER
"Can only walk up and down a flight of 12 stairs if they go ... one step at a time."
No difficulty arises in construing this provision if the person concerned goes one step at a time continuously throughout the whole process of walking up and down a flight of 12 stairs, but what if he progresses in this manner for only part of the way? The provision seems to contemplate an "all or nothing" situation. Presumably, it was thought that a person who needed to progress only one step at a time would suffer this disability continuously, and would not be in a position at any stage to walk free of the disability. But apparently, in the case before me the claimant was constrained to move one step at a time only when going down stairs.
Date: 12 May 1998 (signed) Mr. D. G. Rice