"This activity considers the claimant’s functional limitations in their ability to prepare food and not the claimant’s lack of skill or the opportunity to learn. If an individual cannot cook at all because they have never needed to learn, consider their ability to carry out activities at or above waist height and their cognitive ability to use a stove or microwave if shown how.

Preparing food means the activities required to make food ready for cooking and eating, such as peeling and chopping.

Cooking food means heating food at or above waist height – for example, using a microwave oven or on a cooker hob. It does not consider the ability to bend down – for example, to access an oven.

Serving food means transferring food to a plate or bowl. It does not include presentation, or involve carrying food to where it will be eaten.

Where the claimant is reliant on pre-chopped vegetables, you should consider whether the claimant could peel and chop. If a person could peel and chop then, in the absence of any other relevant functional restrictions, they can prepare a simple meal unaided. If they could peel and chop with the use of an aid, they carry out preparation with aids. If the person uses pre-chopped vegetables because they couldn’t peel and chop even with an aid, they need assistance to prepare a simple meal."

When considering whether a claimant requires an aid or appliance, [Healthcare professionals] should distinguish between:
Descriptor advice 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.
Where a claimant chooses not to use an aid or appliance that he or she could reasonably be expected to use and would enable them to carry out the activity without assistance, they should be assessed as needing an aid or appliance rather than a higher level of support.

"‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person. For example: may apply to claimants who lack motivation to prepare and cook a simple meal on the majority of days due to a mental health condition, or who need to be
reminded how to prepare and cook food on the majority of days. "

Last updated October 2015