Activity 9 Social Engagement
I’ve been writing a submission and it strikes me that the descriptors for Social Engagement do not cover all clients. My client, because of continual pain, headaches and depression has stopped socialising altogether. She sees family..She can manage to get along with the three or four people she works with, whom she has known for many years. She does not socialise at all even with these people. So she obviously does not meet 9(a). She would find it physically painful (bright lights, noise, headaches) and mentally she has no motivation to do so. I doubt if prompting or support would make a difference, but I am not sure I can convincingly argue “overwhelming psychological distress” either, since she’s not even attempted to over the last four years. How do we approach this?
This is a recognised dilemma - see the discussion in JT v SSWP  UKUT 186 (AAC) and the AM, AB and SM cases cited therein.
I am not sure that it is at all possible to set out an overall summary of those cases, and certainly not at this time of day. The Judges each appear to have nuanced views as to the way in which the descriptors under activity 9 interact with one another and with reg 4(2A). Their views do not always appear to coincide and it is not clear to what extent a ‘gap’ does in practice exist between the activities.
Thanks Elliot. I looked at JT v SSWP this morning and got completely lost somewhere in the middle! I feel none the wiser except, as you say, it identifies that the dilemma exists. But it would be worth while sitting down and working through the reasoning of this and the other cases it refers to at some point.