UKSSCSC CIB_16237_1996 (24 June 1998)
Mr. D. G. Rice CIB/16237/199624.6.98
All work test - right handed person unable to hold a pen or pencil in right hand and able only to scrawl with left hand - whether able to "use a pen or pencil"
On 14 December 1995 the adjudication officer decided that from that date the claimant ceased to be entitled to incapacity benefit because he did not reach a score of at least 15 points from the physical descriptors in Part I of the Schedule to the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) (General) Regulations 1995 and thus failed to satisfy the "all work test". A tribunal allowed the claimant's appeal because they were satisfied that he should score 15 points under descriptor 7(d) of the Schedule "cannot use a pen or pencil". The claimant was right-handed. He stated that he could not hold a pen or pencil in his right hand and he could not write legibly with his left. He could only scrawl. The adjudication officer contended that a person could use a pen or pencil if he could merely tick a box on a form and sign it.
- "cannot use a pen or pencil" meant cannot use a pen or pencil for the purposes for which a pen or pencil was normally used. If a person could not write reasonably clearly and at a reasonable speed, descriptor 7(d) of the Schedule applied;
- as most people can only use a pen or pencil in one hand the words "with either hand" were to be implied in descriptor 7(d). Thus an ambidextrous person would not satisfy description 7(d) if he had sufficient use of one hand. The tribunal had not erred in law.
DECISION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER
"Cannot use a pen or pencil."
It was the claimant's case that he could not hold a pen or pencil in his right hand, and that, insofar as he was able to hold a pen or pencil in his left hand he could not do so as to write legibly. He could only make a scrawl.
"7. (a) Cannot turn the pages of a book with either hand.
(b) Cannot turn a tap or control knobs on a cooker with either hand.
(c) Cannot pick up a coin which is 2.5 centimetres, or less in diameter with either hand."
Notwithstanding the absence of the words "with either hand", I do not consider that a person is entitled under descriptor 7(d) to 15 points if he cannot used a pen or pencil in each hand. As most people can only use a pen or pencil in one hand, such a construction would make nonsense of the descriptor. Accordingly, I am satisfied that the test is whether or not a person cannot use a pen or pencil with either hand, a construction which Mr. Heath felt obliged to accept.
Date: 24 June 1998 (signed) Mr. D. G. Rice