Benefit challenges and appeals
Find out how you can challenge a decision on your claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Child Disability Payment (CDP) (Scotland only), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Adult Disability Payment (ADP) (Scotland only), Attendance Allowance (AA), Universal Credit (UC) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
If you've been turned down for a benefit you applied for, or been awarded less than you had hoped for, you can dispute the decision by contacting the relevant administering body. This will either be the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department for Communities for people living in Northern Ireland (DfC) or Social Security Scotland for some of the benefits claimed by people living in Scotland (SSS).
Asking for a mandatory reconsideration
The first step in challenging a benefit decision made by any of the administering bodies (DWP/DFC or SSS), is usually to ask for a mandatory reconsideration (called a re-determination if administered by SSS). 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. Time limits apply and depending on who is administering your benefit, you will have one month (DWP and DfC) or six weeks (SSS) from the date of the initial decision to make your request.
When asking for a mandatory reconsideration/re-determination 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 request. Evidence such as a letter from a medical professional, for example, your GP or consultant, or a social worker is always helpful.
Making an appeal can be a complicated process and if you think you will need help, you can ask someone to assist you. This person is called your representative and can be a friend or a relative.
Getting help with your appeal
It can take a lot of time to collate your information and evidence together in order to prepare for your hearing. An appeal panel can also consider and decide that you were awarded more benefits than you are entitled to, so your benefit can be reduced as well as increased or remain the same. Because of this, we recommend you be as prepared and informed as possible.
Our "Benefit appeals" factsheet gives more information on the process of challenging benefit decisions.
Our Challenging Benefit Decisions toolkit gives a comprehensive guide to both the reconsideration and appeal processes, along with step-by-step guides, template letters and a sample appeal submission.