Challenging Benefit Decisions
If your claim has been turned down, there are steps you can take to appeal the decision, and we can help along the way. Please give us a call on 01508 491 210 option 3 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation in more detail.
The first step in challenging a decision is to ask the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to reconsider their decision. You have one month from the date on your decision letter to do this.
A Mandatory Reconsideration is your chance to say why you think the decision is wrong and how you meet the criteria for a different award. It is helpful if you can provide additional medical evidence to support your case at this stage.
When the relevant benefit office has looked at your file again, they will send you what is called a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice. This is their final decision and you will need this if you want to go on to appeal.
If you are unhappy with the decision, you can take your case to appeal. You will need to check that you have a right to appeal, and it should say so on your decision letter.
After you submit an appeal request, you will receive what is called an appeal bundle. This is a collection of evidence that has been used to make the decision you are appealing, it is useful at this point to see if there is any additional evidence you can get to support your case.
You can then put together your appeal submission, which outlines the reasons you are appealing the decision, and is sent to the tribunal prior to your hearing. When your hearing comes around, it may be helpful to take a friend, relative or support worker with you. They may be able to speak to the tribunal if they have any useful evidence or after you have attempted to answer all questions, but they cannot speak for you.
After your hearing, you may be asked to go back to the waiting room whilst the tribunal consider the evidence and make their decision. Announcing the decision closes the appeal, and there is no further discussion. Sometimes the decision may be posted, but mostly be given on the day.
If you are not happy with the outcome, you have the right to ask for a Statement of Reasons which will give you a full explanation of how the panel came to their decision. You need to ask for this in writing.