pipinfo

Daily living - Activity 9: Engaging with other people face to face

Activity 9 considers a claimant’s ability to engage with other people, which means to interact face-to-face in a contextually and socially appropriate manner, understand body language and establish relationships. As with all the other activities, a claimant is to be assessed as satisfying a descriptor only if they can do so reliably.

Descriptors

The descriptors for Activity 9 are -

  1. Can engage with other people unaided. 0 points
  2. Needs prompting to be able to engage with other people. 2 points
  3. Needs social support to be able to engage with other people. 4 points
  4. Cannot engage with other people due to such engagement causing either - (i) overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant; or (ii) the claimant to exhibit behaviour which would result in a substantial risk of harm to the claimant or another person. 8 points

Source: Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013)


Definitions

Terms used in the PIP descriptors are defined in regulations and, in relation to Activity 9, are -

  • “aid or appliance” - (a) means any device which improves, provides or replaces [the claimant's] impaired physical or mental function; and (b) includes a prosthesis;
  • “prompting” means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person;
  • “psychological distress” means distress related to an enduring mental health condition or an intellectual or cognitive impairment;
  • “social support” means support from a person trained or experienced in assisting people to engage in social situations;
  • “unaided” means without - (a) the use of an aid or appliance; or (b) supervision, prompting or assistance. 

Source: Regulation 2 and Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013)

See also DWP guidance on Activity 9 from the Personal Independence Payment assessment guide for assessment providers.


Case law

Commentary:​ The Court of Session judgment [2017] CSIH 57 considers whether social support needs to happen at the same time as the engagement with others, and whether prompting can also constitute social support. It agrees with [2015] UKUT 584 (AAC) but disagrees with [2017] UKUT 101 (AAC) finding that the support can happen before the engagement but adds that there must be a causal link between the two. Additionally, the Court of Session finds that something which constitutes prompting may also constitute social support if, to render it effective or to increase its effectiveness, it requires to be delivered by someone trained or experienced in assisting people to engage in social situations.

Although the expression ‘engage socially’ - defined as meaning: '(a) interact with others in a contextually and socially appropriate manner; (b) understand body language; and (c) establish relationships;' in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the PIP regulations - does not appear anywhere in activity 9, or in fact anywhere in any other PIP activities, it has been generally accepted by Upper Tribunal judges (see for example [2017] UKUT 352 (AAC) and [2015] UKUT 215 (AAC)) as helping to identify the factors that might be relevant when measuring a claimant’s ability to reliably engage wth people face to face. | Add commentary or suggest an edit.