Daily living - Activity 1: Preparing food

Activity 1 considers a claimant’s ability to prepare a simple, cooked meal for one from fresh ingredients. It is not designed to assess a claimant’s culinary skills, but to assess the impact of any impairment on their ability to perform the tasks required to prepare and cook a simple meal. As with all the other activities, a claimant is to be assessed as satisfying a descriptor only if they can do so reliably.


The descriptors for Activity 1 are -

  1. Can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided. 0 points
  2. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal. 2 points
  3. Cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker but is able to do so using a microwave. 2 points
  4. Needs prompting to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal. 2 points
  5. Needs supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal. 4 points
  6. Cannot prepare and cook food. 8 points

Source: Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013)


Terms used in the PIP descriptors are defined in regulations and, in relation to Activity 1, are -

  • “aid or appliance” - (a) means any device which improves, provides or replaces [the claimant's] impaired physical or mental function; and (b) includes a prosthesis; 
  • “assistance” means physical intervention by another person and does not include speech;
  • “cook” means heat food at or above waist height;
  • “prepare”, in the context of food, means make food ready for cooking or eating;
  • “prompting” means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person;
  • “simple meal” means a cooked one-course meal for one using fresh ingredients;
  • “supervision” means the continuous presence of another person for the purpose of ensuring [the claimant’s] safety;
  • “unaided” means without - (a) the use of an aid or appliance; or (b) supervision, prompting or assistance.

Source: Regulation 2 and Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.377/2013)

See also DWP guidance on Activity 1 in section 2.3 of the Personal Independence Payment assessment guide for assessment providers.

Case law

Commentary:​ The caselaw for Activity 1 has formed a consensus that it is a notional 'simple meal' test which assesses the claimant's physical and mental capacity to cook, not whether they do so. Factors such as dietary requirements ([2017] UKUT 358 (AAC)), cultural or religious requirements ([2016] UKUT 572 (AAC)) or the personal conditions of the claimant ([2017] UKUT 317 (AAC)) are not relevant. | Add commentary or suggest an edit.