Appealing a DWP benefits decision

Step 1: Mandatory reconsideration

Contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

  • Ask DWP to look at the decision again – this is called a mandatory reconsideration.
  • It's best to do this in writing and give reasons why you disagree. The address to write to is on the decision letter you have received.
  • You must do this within a month of the date of the original decision.

DWP will look at your claim and tell you their new decision.

  • You have a month to ask for an appeal if you are still unhappy.
  • You must appeal using form SSCS1.
  • You must state your reason for the appeal clearly and forward any supporting evidence as soon as possible – do not wait for the hearing.

If you need advice on completing this, call on 0300 123 1142.

You can download form SSCS1 or get a paper copy from your local Citizen's Advice Bureau and Jobcentre Plus office.

You must complete sections 1, 2, 5, 6 and 8. Use black ink and block capitals.

Section 5 is where you must state your reasons for your appeal. You must write down the reasons why you think the decision is wrong. Your reasons do not have to be lengthy or written in legal language, but you need to say more than just 'I disagree'. Explain simply why you think the decision is incorrect and what you believe the correct decision should be.

Send your appeal to HM Courts and Tribunals Service. If you live in England or Wales you should send your appeal to:

HMCTS SSCS Appeals Centre

PO Box 1203

Bradford

BD1 9WP

Telephone: 0300 123 1142

Do not forget to sign the form and enclose your mandatory reconsideration decision letter.

Step 2 - Mandatory Reconsideration to Appeal Tribunal

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) will acknowledge your appeal by sending you a letter.

  • HMTCS will send a copy of your appeal to the DWP who can change their decision if they choose. They have to respond to the HMCTS within 28 days.
  • DWP will send you and HMCTS copies of their response and all paperwork relating to your claim.
  • Your appeal will be sent by HMCTS to the regional office who will arrange an appeal hearing.

Step 3: Preparing for the appeal

  • You can choose to go to the hearing. This is called an Oral Hearing.
  • You can choose not to go to the hearing. This is called a Paper Hearing.
  • In very exceptional cases an 'Out of Centre' hearing can be arranged.
  • You can claim reasonable travelling expenses if you go to the hearing.

Step 4: On the day of the appeal hearing

  • If you have asked for an open hearing, you will receive a letter giving 14 days' notice. This letter will include details about claiming travelling expenses.
  • Take any new evidence, such as a letter from your doctor or support worker.
  • You will be greeted by the Clerk to the Tribunal who will explain the process to you, answer any questions and deal with travel expense claims.
  • There will be up to 3 people on the panel.
  • You will be given the opportunity to give information about your circumstances, ask questions and also answer the panel's questions.

The appeal decision

  • You will be asked to wait in another room whilst a decision is made.
  • In most cases you will be given the decision the same day. A copy of the decision letter will be sent to the DWP.
  • Unless the DWP wishes to challenge the decision, it will implement the Tribunal's decision.
  • If you have further queries regarding the decision, contact the DWP.

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