How to Challenge a DWP Decision

If you disagree with a decision about benefits you can ask for the decision to be looked at again – this is called a mandatory reconsideration.

You can do this if:

  • you think there has been an error
  • you disagree with the reasons for the decision
  • you want to have the decision looked at again

You need to ask for mandatory reconsideration within one month of the date of the decision.

If you want to challenge a decision because of a change in circumstances, you will need to follow a different procedure. Speak to us for advice on this.

Applying for Mandatory Reconsideration for PIP

You can use a form provided by the DWP to apply for a mandatory reconsideration – use the CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form on GOV.UK

Send your completed form and any evidence to the address at the top of your decision letter.

Detail each of the statements you disagree with and explain why. Give factual examples and medical evidence (if available) to support what you are saying.

The notes document on GOV.UK gives guidance on examples of evidence to provide.

For PIP claims, the Citizens Advice’s guide how the DWP makes a decision is also helpful.

Alternatively, you don’t have to use the form provided but can challenge a decision by writing a letter.

We have produced a template letter (link below) to ask for a mandatory reconsideration, which you can download and amend to meet your needs. Please read carefully and delete the parts that do not apply to you. Don’t forget to change the red to black.

The quickest way to apply for a mandatory reconsideration is to call and do so over the telephone – you must be within one month of the date of your decision letter to do this.

If you’re going to call, make some notes beforehand outlining what you want to say, covering all that you disagree with. The call handler will take notes and pass the information to a decision maker – you won’t get a decision there and then.

Sometimes the call handler will tell you to put your request in writing as well – there’s no need to do this provided you’re within one month of the decision, take a note of the name of the person that you talk to and the date and time of the call.

Missed the one-month deadline?

You can still ask for a mandatory reconsideration, provided the request is made in writing and it is within 13 months of the decision.

You will need to give a good reason for why you missed the one-month deadline – for example because you were seriously ill. The longer the delay, the better the reason needs to be for the delay.

You need to explain to the DWP:

  • why you missed the deadline
  • why the decision is wrong
  • why it is important they change the decision

The DWP can refuse your application if it is late, but as long as you apply within 13 months of the date on your decision letter you can appeal the decision to refuse your mandatory reconsideration at an independent tribunal.

Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

As soon as the benefits office has reconsidered its decision you will get a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice. This will explain whether they have changed the decision.

Don’t be put off if they don’t change the decision, as you can appeal to an independent tribunal where there is a greater likelihood of success.

Independent Tribunal

You can take your challenge to an independent tribunal if you still disagree with the DWP or if they won’t let you make a late mandatory reconsideration request. You have one month from the date on your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice to make an in-time appeal.

You can start your appeal by either:

  • Complete and submit the appeal form SSCS1 online. We recommend selecting to save your appeal application – this will save your details should you want to come back to the application and don’t complete it. You will need to create an account to save your application online.
  • Fill in the appeal form SSCS1, print and post it to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (full address is on the form) with a copy of your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice and any further evidence you have. Use recorded delivery. Keep a copy for your records.

Your DAP caseworker can help you with the paperwork, act as your representative during the appeal process and may be able to attend any hearing with you.

Tribunal Process

A tribunal judge may assess your case without a hearing. If the judge assesses your case based on the documents alone, they will send you a provisional decision. If you don’t agree with the provisional decision, you can ask for a hearing instead.

In most cases there will be a hearing, the tribunal might suggest a phone call, video conference or for you to attend in person. Let them know any dates you are not available and anything you may need, such as disabled parking or a sign language interpreter.

The link to the video below is useful if you are attending via video conference:

Joining a Civil, Family or Tribunal CVP Hearing using web browser

Missed the Appeal Deadline?

If you have missed the deadline, you can still send in the SSCS1 form. You will need to explain why it is late. The tribunal board will look at why your form was late and decide whether they will let you appeal.

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