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TOPIC: DLA the cooking test

DLA the cooking test 8 years 5 days ago #13723

I applied for DLA, hoping for LRC on grounds of the cooking test.

I used your excellent Guide, which said ‘Consider using our four-step system for giving additional information about your difficulties with this activity.’ But it also said ‘you can skip step 4 if you wish, as you don’t need to show that you reasonably require help with cooking, only that you have sufficient difficulty.’

So I said what causes the problem, gave details of the problem, gave examples - but I didn’t say why this means I need help. (Mind you, I would have thought it was b obvious.)

So I was a bit rattled when the rejection letter said ‘Although you have difficulties you do not need help from another person to plan a meal, motivate yourself. You do not need help to prepare a cooked main meal for one person.’

Which implies that I did need to show that I need help.

In my appeal (I’ve sent off the G24), can I argue that I don’t need to show I need help – in which case can you point me to the DWP chapter and verse on this?

Many thanks

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Re:DLA the cooking test 8 years 5 days ago #13730

  • lavenderlady
Hi Elaine

For the cooking test you need to state clearly every task that you cannot do to prepare a meal. From using a knife, chopping. cutting,peeling, to handling pans on a hot stove.You have to go into great detail about why you cannot do any particular task in the preparation. What is preventing you from doing it? What can't you do and why?

Things to consider

Can you chop, cut food
can you carry pans
can you lift pans
are you on medication that leaves you drowsy all the time, if so name the medication and its effects
are you always too ill to cook
are you unable to complete a task in the kitchen for a particular reason- are you dizzy, in too much pain,
is your grip poor
can you hold things in your hand
do you have accidents? if so, why? what causes you to have the accident
are you at risk of burning yourself
are you so forgettful that you leave food cooking so that it burns and your smoke alarm goes off
have you ever tried cooking a meal, only to have to stop because you felt too ill, too weak, too much in pain to continue and had to stop
does cooking make you nauseous
what do you eat when you don't cook a meal- how do you manage
do you ever miss meals because you feel too ill to cook
do you have difficulties with balance, sitting, standing
is it too dangerous for you to cook when alone because of fits etc...

What is preventing you from cooking a meal
can you prepare and cook a meal ALONE
is it safe for you to cooka meal ALONE

You need to decide the following

Can you prepare and cook a meal all by yourself.
If yes, can you do it everyday?
If no, then consider and list your reasons

If you live alone and there is no-one to help you, you must state that.

Give as much detail as possible about all the difficulties you experience whenever you try and cook a meal. Go into detail. youhave to show them by the words that you have written that you cannot prepare and cook a meal when you are on your own. Write it as if you were telling a friend why you were unable to prepare a meal, what happened, what your difficulties were/are.

Are you clear in your own mind what your difficulties are?

If so,state them simply and clearly.
I cannot .... because ...when I try ... happens

Always be willing to give as much info as possible to help the DWP get a clear picture of your life.

Also don't quote 'your rights' or rules and regulations unless it is ABSOLUTELY essential. It only gets peoples backs up. Far better to appear co-operative and willing to assist. Don't make a fuss about trivialities and always use conciliatrary language, would you mind.... I would appreciate it if .... could you please ...

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Re:DLA the cooking test 8 years 5 days ago #13731

  • kathy1
Hi lavenderlady,

That is a real excellent piece of advice you have given elaine. Its really nice when other forum members are ready and willing to put time into helping someone who is having difficulty explain.

Your 100% right in your advice regarding the manner in which you approach and by not using legal terms.

Very well done.


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Re:DLA the cooking test 8 years 5 days ago #13733

Hi Elaine,

The law says that if, because of their disability, a claimant ‘cannot prepare a cooked main meal for [themselves] if [they have] the ingredients’ then they are entitled to the lower rate of the care component.

So, for example, even if someone had an eating disorder of such severity that they would never attempt to prepare a cooked main meal then they would still pass the test. They could not, however, argue that they reasonably required help with cooking a meal because no amount of help would make any difference at all, they still wouldn't be able to cook a main meal.

Whereas, for example, if someone had agoraphobia of such severity that they would not walk outdoors under any circumstances, no matter how much help they had, then they would probably not qualify for the lower rate of the mobility component. This is because help would not be reasonably required - it's not reasonable to provide help to someone who will never take advantage of it.

The DWP churn out standard letters to refuse awards. At this stage, if you want to go into detail in your appeal form I would stick to pointing out that you explained in your claim pack why you were unable to prepare a cooked main meal and not get drawn into an argument about legal definitions. But if you wish to rephrase it as 'I made clear in my claim pack that I need help with cooking a main meal because of the problems I have with . . .' then that's fine too.

What the decision maker is really saying is ,We don't accept that you are unable to prepare cooked main meal'.

Good luck,


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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

Re:DLA the cooking test 8 years 2 days ago #13818

Thank you for clarifying what the Decision Maker’s reply meant, and also for explaining the distinction between the cooking test, and other areas which reasonably require help.

I put on the form ‘Because of my cognitive problems I have difficulty in working out and sticking to the right sequence of tasks, and in keeping my mind on two things at the same time. This means that I do not get all the elements of a meal ready at the same time. [Gave an example.] I also have difficulty in remembering to do all the necessary tasks, so may leave out a vital stage or ingredient.’

If I were to attempt cooking a proper meal I would need someone to prompt me to do things at the right time and in the right order, and not leave anything out. (As well as motivating me and making sure I don’t set anything on fire.) But of course this is not what happens – it would be pointless my husband organising me to cook when he could do it far more simply without me, it would waste my limited energy to no end, and stress both of us out (and the kitchen is too small for two). So what actually happens is that he cooks proper meals Fri-Sun, we go out/get a takeaway Thu, and I microwave ready-meals if I’m up to it Mon-Wed.

Do you think this is an acceptable thing to say?

I’ve already sent the appeal, so I’m really thinking through the tribunal and medical – I wouldn’t sail in all guns blazing about the legal bit, I just wanted to get it clear in my own mind.

Many thanks

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Re:DLA the cooking test 8 years 1 day ago #13827

Hi Elaine,

I think you've both set out very clearly the grounds for entitlement and given a convincing account of the reality of how you and your husband deal with the difficulties you face.

There's never any certainty about what a tribunal will decide, but if I was your representative I'd be entirely comfortable with the evidence you intend to give.

Good luck,


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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems
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