Activity 12: Coping with change

Activity 12 is defined in regulations as -

Coping with change.

Activity 12 assesses the ability to cope with changes in normal routine whether permanent or not. The descriptor may be satisfied where small changes result in the individual being unable to manage day to day life.


The descriptor relating to Activity 12 is -

Cannot cope with any change, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder, to the extent that day to day life cannot be managed.


See also section of the DWP’s Work Capability Assessment handbook: for healthcare professionals.

Case law

Commentary:​ In [2013] UKUT 207 (AAC) the judge held that an individual will succeed under this activity if for the majority of time they cannot cope with 'any' change, even a less significant change. However, it is not of itself fatal that the claimant can sometimes cope with a change. The meaning of 'cope' has been considered in a number of cases including [2013] UKUT 405 (AAC) in which Judge Ward interprets it to mean 'to manage, deal (competently) with a situation or problem'. The judge adds that needing help from another person, or signs of stress reactions, may be indicators of a failure to cope. | Add commentary or suggest an edit.