There are certain steps that you must take if you are unhappy with a benefit decision and it is important that you follow the correct process. For most benefits you will need to ask the DWP to look again at their decision before you can appeal. This is called a 'mandatory reconsideration'. You must ask for a mandatory reconsideration within one month from the date of the decision you do not agree with. You can request this by telephoning the DWP.
Following the reconsideration, if you are still unhappy, the next step is to request an appeal through the Tribunal Service. If you require assistance preparing your appeal, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Welfare Benefits Service for advice.
Appealing a benefit decision
Some important things to consider if you are unhappy with a benefit decision:
- If you do not have time to put your request for a reconsideration in writing, you may be able to request one by telephone, the telephone number will be on your decision notice.
- If you have passed the time limit for requesting a mandatory reconsideration or appeal, in some circumstances it can still be possible.
- If you ask for certain benefit decisions to be looked at again, you could be given a lower award or even have your benefit removed. This could apply to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance (AA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
- When you are asking for a mandatory reconsideration of a benefit which was refused, you will not be paid any benefit while you are waiting for the decision. If you are appealing because you think you should have been given a higher rate of benefit, you will be paid the reduced rate until the decision is made.
- If you have been refused Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) following a Work Capability Assessment, and have requested a mandatory reconsideration, you can claim Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) until you get the decision. If you have requested an appeal of an ESA decision, you can be paid ESA at the assessment rate until your appeal is heard (you will be required to send fit notes from your GP during this time).
- There is a different process for appealing a tax credit decision.
Talk to our Welfare Benefits Service
If you would like to discuss a mandatory reconsideration or an appeal with a Welfare Benefits Officer, please ring the Welfare Benefit Service during the duty times which are:
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9.30am - 12.30pm
- Wednesday: 1.30pm - 4.30pm
You can find out more about appealing a benefits decision on the Government website.
If you applied for a crisis grant or a community care grant you can find out what to do if you are unhappy with the decision. There are also details on our website about appealing a housing benefit decision.
If you would like help on how to appeal a benefit decision, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) have a free Appeals Toolkit available on the CPAG (Scotland) website.