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 (part 2).


Case law

Commentary: In [2019] UKSC 34, an appeal against the Court of Session's judgment in [2017] CSIH 57, the Supreme Court considered whether social support needs to happen at the same time as the engagement with others, and whether prompting can also constitute social support. It finds that social support may be given before or during an activity, and that the nature of support might not differ between 'prompting' and 'social support', but that the difference is whether the support needs to come from someone 'trained or experienced in assisting people to engage in social situations'. Careful scrutiny is needed to decide whether someone meets that definition.

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 accepted by the Supreme Court in [2019] UKSC 34 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.