Activity 3: Reaching

Activity 3 is defined in regulations as - 


Activity 3 relates to shoulder function and/or elbow function in both arms. It assesses the ability to raise the upper limbs to a level above waist height, having regard to the claimant's ability to reach in an upward direction through movement at the shoulder including forward and sideward movement and internal rotation of the shoulder. It is an evaluation of power, co-ordination and joint mobility in the upper limbs.


The descriptors that relate to Activity 3 are -

  1. Cannot raise either arm as if to put something in the top pocket of a coat or jacket. 15 points
  2. Cannot raise either arm to top of head as if to put on a hat. 9 points
  3. Cannot raise either arm above head height as if to reach for something. 6 points
  4. None of the above applies. 0 points


  • Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2008 (SI.No.794/2008)  (applies to income-related and contributory ESA in a universal credit live service area).
  • Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2013 (SI.No.379/2013) (applies to contributory ESA in a universal credit full service area).
  • Part 1 of Schedule 6 to the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013) (applies to universal credit).

See also section 3.2.4 of the DWP’s Work Capability Assessment handbook: for healthcare professionals.

Case law

The Upper Tribunal is yet to publish any significant case law in relation to Activity 3.