"This activity 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.

Notes: An inability to engage face-to-face must be due to the impact of impairment and not simply a matter of preference by the claimant. "


‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person. For example: may apply to people who need encouragement to engage with others in the presence of a third party. "

Social Support

"For example: may apply to people who can only engage with others with active and skilled support on the majority of days, or who are left vulnerable due to their level of risk-awareness as a result of their condition.

'Extremely Distressed'

I use these words to describe what the DWP calls ‘Overwhelming psychological distress’

"‘Overwhelming psychological distress’ means distress related to an enduring mental health condition or intellectual or cognitive impairment which results in a severe anxiety state in which the symptoms are so severe that the person is unable to function. This may occur in conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, dementia or agoraphobia."

'Cause me or them harm'

"Behaviour which would result in a substantial risk of harm to the claimant or another person must be as a result of an underlying health condition and the claimant’s inability to control their behaviour.

When considering whether claimants can engage with others, consideration should be given to whether they can engage with people generally, not just those people they know well.

Vulnerability to the actions of others is considered in this activity. For example, someone with Downs Syndrome or Autism may be less risk aware and vulnerable to manipulation or abuse."

Last updated October 2015