Preparing food

This activity is about whether you can prepare and cook a simple, hot, one-course meal from fresh ingredients (not ready meals). It is not about how good you are as a cook, but about whether your medical condition(s) affects your ability to prepare a simple, hot meal.

Activity scores

A - Can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided 0 B - Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal 2 C - Cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker but is able to do so using a microwave 2 D - Needs prompting to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal 2 E - Needs supervision or assistance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal 4 F - Cannot prepare and cook food 8


  • ‘Preparing’ includes peeling and chopping ingredients, and opening tins and packets.
  • ‘Cooking’ means using a cooker hob or microwave above waist height, but does not include bending down to open an oven door. If you never make yourself a hot meal, or you only use a microwave rather than a cooker hob, due to the risk of accident or injury during a seizure, include this in your answer and explain why you do this.
  • ‘Aids and appliances’ include electric can openers if it would be unsafe for you to use a non-electric opener; specific types of containers or pans that you need to help you; a cooker guard on the cooker top; or a kettle tipper to pour hot water.
  • ‘Prompting' means motivating or reminding you to prepare and cook a meal, and 'supervision or assistance' means helping you if you cannot safely prepare food or use a microwave, or making sure you are safe while you are preparing or cooking a meal. If your seizures affect your conciousness without warning, 1E might apply.

Things to think about

  • What could happen to you if you have a seizure when preparing or cooking a meal? What is the likelihood of this happening? Include any real examples of when this has happened and how it affected you physically and mentally.
  • Would a safety aid such as a cooker guard or kettle tipper help make cooking safer for you? If you have seizures, and are at risk of scalding or burning yourself while cooking, you can include on your form the need for safety aids, even if you don't currently use them.

Does anything else about your epilepsy (including your seizures, recovery from seizures, medication side effects, or impact of your condition) affect your ability to do any of this activity? You can include any impact on:

  • your concentration or memory (for example, needing help to follow the process of preparing and cooking a meal),
  • your mood (for example, anxiety, or depression, or fear about having a seizure during this activity); or
  • any fatigue or confusion that you may have following a seizure.

Remember: this question is asking about your ability to do this activity, not whether you want to do it. However, if someone else usually prepares your meals for you because of a risk from having a seizure, then explain why they do it for you, and what might happen if you did it yourself.

Remember to include:

  • whether you can do this activity reliably (safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in a reasonable time period);
  • whether you need aids, appliances or help from another person to do this activity;
  • how often your condition affects your ability to do this activity (the 50% rule); and
  • the impact of any other conditions or disabilities that you have on this activity.

You will get just one single score for this activity, so make sure that you include as much relevant information as possible. You can continue on a separate sheet of paper if you need to. 

Information produced: July 2019

How to apply for PIP

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a UK benefit for people over the age of 16, to help with any additional costs due to having a long-term disability or health condition. This information is designed to help you with the first stage of applying for PIP - making a claim.

Taken from our 'PIP - the assessment criteria' factsheet