"This activity considers a claimant’s ability to communicate verbally with regard to expressive (conveying) communication and receptive (receiving and understanding) communication in ones native language.

Clarity of the claimant’s speech should be considered. In some cases the other participant in the conversation may have to concentrate slightly harder than normal, for example after a certain type of stroke it can be hard to articulate some sounds in speech. The speech sounds different to normal but is understandable. This is to an acceptable standard in the meaning of the descriptor. If the claimant couldn’t make themselves understood and had to resort to hand gestures and writing notes this would not be to an acceptable standard."

Spoken information (or, as the DWP calls it, Verbal Information)

Verbal information can include information that is interpreted from verbal into non-verbal form or viceversa – for example, speech interpreted through sign language.

Complex information

"Complex verbal information is information conveyed in either more than one sentence or one complicated sentence, for example: 'I would like tea please, just a splash of milk and no sugar, as I always have sweeteners with me for when I go out.' "

Basic information

"Basic verbal information is information conveyed in a simple sentence. Examples of a simple sentence: 'Can I help you?'; 'I would like tea please'; 'I came home today'; 'The time is 3 o’clock.' "

What help might be needed?

The DWP refers to this as "Communication Support"

"Communication support means support from another person trained or experienced in communicating with people with specific communication needs (for example, a sign language interpreter); or someone directly experienced in communicating with the claimant themselves (for example, a family member). Individuals who cannot express or understand verbal information and would need communication support to do so should receive the appropriate descriptor even if they do not have access to this

"For example: may apply to claimants who require a sign language interpreter"

"Lip reading is not considered an acceptable way to interpret verbal communication."

"Writing things down is not verbally communicating to an acceptable standard."

"Note: The ability to remember and retain information is not within the scope of this activity e.g. relevant to those with dementia or learning disabilities."

Aids and Appliances

When considering whether a claimant requires an aid or appliance, [Healthcare Professionals] should distinguish between:
[A] Descriptor...in favour of an aid or appliance should only be given in the former case. An aid or appliance is not required in the latter."

"For example: may apply to claimants who require a sign language interpreter. "

Last updated October 2015