Benefits appeals

If you have been turned down by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for a benefit you applied for, or been awarded less than you had hoped for, you can dispute the decision

Find out how you can challenge a decision on your claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance and Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Asking for a mandatory reconsideration

The first step in challenging a decision from the DWP is to ask for a mandatory reconsideration. This is effectively a request from you, asking the office who made the decision on your benefit claim to look at your claim again. It is not an appeal. You have one month from the date of the DWP's initial decision to ask for a mandatory reconsideration. When asking for a mandatory reconsideration you should:

  • explain in as much detail as you can why you think you should be awarded the benefit, or why a higher rate of benefit should be paid
  • send any supporting evidence you may have along with your reconsideration request. Evidence such as a letter from a medical professional, for example your GP or consultant, or a social worker is always helpful.

Once they have reconsidered your claim, the DWP will send you a mandatory reconsideration notification with the outcome of their decision. If you are still not happy with their decision you can make an appeal to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

Making an appeal

You have to make your appeal to HMCTS within one month of receiving your mandatory reconsideration notification. Making an appeal is a complicated process and can be quite stressful. You will have to send lots of information about your case to HMCTS, and you will also have the opportunity to attend a hearing.

Getting help with your appeal

It can take a lot of time to collate your information and evidence together, and prepare for your hearing. Also, if HMCTS believe that you were in fact awarded more than you are entitled to, your benefit may actually be reduced. Because of this, we recommend you be as prepared and informed as possible.

Our "Benefits appeals" factsheet gives more information on how to make an appeal, but you can also discuss your case with a specialist advice service, such as our Legal Rights Service. Call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email

Please note, we are only able to give advice on benefits to blind and partially sighted people and their carers or dependents.