Q11: mixing with other people
What the question means
This question is about how your condition makes it difficult for you to:
meet people and mix with them
judge situations when you're with other people and behave appropriately
establish relationships with people - for example make friends
You should think about how meeting and mixing with other people makes you feel - both strangers and people you know.
The DWP isn’t interested in whether you choose not to meet and mix with people because you don’t want to. They want to know how your condition makes you feel when you do.
Do you need another person to help you to mix with other people? Help includes someone:
- prompting or encouraging you to do so
- being there to support or reassure you, and
- helping you understand how people are behaving towards you
This includes help you have and help you need but don't get.
You should probably tick “yes” if you:
need someone with you when you meet people you don’t know (for example to introduce you to them and start a conversation)
need someone to be with you when you meet and mix with people
don’t know how you’re going to react when you meet and mix with other people (for example you might become aggressive)
- need someone with you but you don’t currently get that help
Do you find it difficult to mix with other people because of severe anxiety or distress?
You should probably tick "yes" if you:
become anxious when you meet and mix with other people
don’t like the idea of mixing with other people
- avoid mixing with other people because of the anxiety and distress it causes you
Extra information: what to write
It’s important you tell the DWP more by explaining your situation in the box.
It’s your chance to give the DWP a true picture of how your condition affects your ability to mix with other people. They'll use this to decide if you can get PIP.
You can also use this space to explain what help you need if you don’t currently get any.
Someone prompts, reassures or supports you
Make it clear if you need help but don’t get it. If you do get help, say who helps you (for example, carer or friend) and explain:
why they help
how they help, for example they might stay with you for a while to make sure you're ok
how often they help
Make it clear if you need them to:
help you all of the time, just sometimes or say if it's too difficult to predict
be on hand - for example, help you only if needed or to make sure you and the other people are safe
Always explain what happens (or would happen) if you don't get help. For example:
you're more likely to put yourself and others in danger
you're more likely to experience physical or mental symptoms like anxiety, distress or confusion
- it'll take you at least twice as long to mix with people as someone without your condition
Safety: accidents or risk of injury
Explain if you’ve ever:
become aggressive towards someone else
felt vulnerable when you’re with other people
needed help from someone who knows about your condition
You should also say if you think this is likely to happen in future.
Make it clear if it’s because:
you didn’t get help or support
your condition affects your levels of concentration or mood, which might increase the likelihood of problems
- you get anxious
Good days and bad days
Explain how you cope on both good days and bad days and how you manage over a longer period of time (like a week). This gives the DWP a better picture of how you cope most of the time.
Make it clear:
if you have good days and bad days
how often you have bad days
- if you have bad days more often than not
- how your difficulties and symptoms differ on good days and bad days
It's ok to estimate your bad days but say if you are. If it's too difficult to estimate, explain why. For example, because your condition fluctuates.
Time it takes
Think about whether it takes you at least twice as long to mix with other people as someone without your condition. For example you might have to mentally prepare yourself before you go out.
Try to explain how long it takes. It's ok to estimate but say if you are. If it's too hard to estimate explain why - for example because your condition fluctuates.
include time for breaks if you need them
- explain if it takes you even longer on a bad day
- say if it takes longer if you have to do it repeatedly
Symptoms like anxiety, distress or confusion
Explain whether the difficulties you have meeting and mixing with people cause you any physical or mental symptoms (like anxiety, distress, confusion, or if they make you feel down).
It's helpful to explain the symptoms and give an example, including:
how often you have them
how long they last
if they're likely to increase the risk of injury or danger
- if they affect your ability to carry out any of the other activities on your PIP claim form