Challenging a decision about PIP or other benefits

If you do not agree with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision about your claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or other benefit, you can appeal.

Reasons for appeal

You might want to appeal if:

  • your claim is turned down
  • you’ll get less money than you thought
  • your claim review date is too soon

If you are appealing because your condition has got worse, you should speak to someone at your local Citizens Advice.

Find out what benefit decisions you can challenge (GOV.UK).

Warning Appeals

With government figures showing that more than half of those that appeal to a tribunal have their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision changed, you should always consider appealing if you have a benefit claim rejected.

Stages of appeal

There can be up to 3 stages of appeal, depending on how far you want to go in challenging the DWP’s decision.

These stages are:

  • mandatory reconsideration
  • a tribunal appeal and hearing
  • further appeals

Challenging a benefit decision

If you want to challenge a benefit decision you have 1 calendar month from the date on your decision letter to ask the DWP to reconsider.

You can either:

If you choose to write a letter, include all the information required by the online form.

Challenging a PIP decision (Citizens Advice)

Warning Missing the deadline

If you miss the 1-month deadline, you can still ask the DWP to reconsider, if it’s within 13 months of the date on your decision letter.

You must have a good reason for missing the deadline. Reasons include:

  • you were given wrong information by a benefits adviser
  • you were caring for an ill partner or relative
  • you’ve been mentally or physically unwell

The government says it should take 2 weeks to reconsider their decision, but you should be prepared for it to take longer. If you think it’s taking too long, you could try calling the department dealing with your benefit claim (GOV.UK).

Complaining about the service you’ve received: benefits and tax credits (Citizens Advice)

Tribunal appeal

If the DWP still do not change their decision after a mandatory reconsideration, you can appeal to an independent panel called a tribunal (Citizens Advice).

An appeal can be complicated and challenging so ask for emotional or practical help from relatives, friends, a support worker or health professional.

When appealing to a tribunal you will need:

You have 1 month from the date shown on your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice to submit your claim.

Warning Sending your documents

You must send your completed SSCS1 form and Mandatory Reconsideration Notice to HM Courts and Tribunals Service, not to the DWP.

Send these documents by registered post so you have a record of when you sent them. You’ll find the address for HM Courts and Tribunals Service on the SSCS1 form.

After they have received and checked your forms, the HM Courts and Tribunals Service will ask the DWP to respond within 28 days.

The tribunal hearing

After the DWP has responded, the HM Courts and Tribunals Service will tell you:

  • the DWP’s response
  • what happens next
  • details about your hearing, including waiting times

You can ask for a written hearing or you can attend in person. If you choose to attend, you’ll get 14 days notice of when and where your hearing will take place.

Attending in person can help with your claim as the experts sitting on the tribunal panel can ask you questions.

The meeting place should be accessible for you and you can take someone with you for support

Challenging a PIP decision: the tribunal hearing (Citizens Advice).

Further appeal

If you’re thinking of appealing against the tribunal’s decision, contact your local Citizens Advice.

Try to get free legal advice before appealing further.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 13/03/2019

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