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Appealing a benefit decision

This page give you information on your right to appeal against a decision to a Tribunal.

When can you appeal against a benefit decision?

You cannot appeal against a decision on a DWP-administered benefit until you have first asked the DWP to reconsider their decision. This is called a 'mandatory reconsideration'

You must request this within 1 month of the decision this can be done by letter of by phone

The DWP must reconsider the decision and give you a response before you can appeal to an independent tribunal. This page explains how to appeal to an independent tribunal if you're not happy with the DWP's reconsideration of the decision.

Time limits

You must appeal within one month of the date on the letter or email telling you the outcome of the reconsideration. It is important to appeal in time otherwise you might lose the chance to challenge the decision.

Decisions you can't appeal against

There are some decisions that you can't appeal against. The letter telling you about the decision must say if you can appeal and how to do this.

You usually can't appeal against decisions such as when and how to pay your benefit. You also won't be able to appeal if the DWP has suspended your claim because they think you're not entitled to it.

If the letter says you don't have the right to appeal, and you think the DWP has made a mistake, you can apply to HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) for a ruling on whether you have a legal right to appeal. Before you do this, you should get advice from a specialist adviser.

Who can appeal?

You can appeal against a decision made on your own claim. If you are not the benefit claimant you can appeal if you:

  • are the parent or guardian of a child who has made a claim
  • have been appointed by the DWP to act for a person unable to deal with their claim, for example because of poor mental or physical health
  • claimed Personal Independance Payment (PIP) for a person who is terminally ill
  • been given permission by DWP to act for a claimant who has now died
  • If you are not the benefit claimant but it has been decided that a short-term or budgeting advance or hardship payment should be recovered from you.

Fill in an appeal form

For most benefits, you must fill in form SSCS1. Otherwise, use the form for the type of benefit you're appealing.

BenefitForm
Child MaintenanceSSCS2
Tax Credits, Child Benefit, Guardian's AllowanceSSCS5
Compensation Recovery SchemeSSCS3
NHS changes under the Compensation Recovery SchemeSSCS4

Claiming benefits while asking for a Mandatory Reconsideration/Appeal

You won't get any Emplyment Support Allowance (ESA) payments while you're asking for a mandatory reconsideration if you were told you couldn't get ESA because:

  • You didn't score enough points at your medical
  • You didn't go to your medical
  • You didn't return the ESA50 form

If you're challenging the DWP's decision to put you in the work-related activity group, you'll continue to be paid ESA with the work-related component while you're challenging that decision - but only if your claim was made before 3 April 2017.

If you don't get any ESA payments during the reconsideration, you might be able to get other money to help with your living costs.

If you've been sanctioned

Contact the Jobcentre to ask for a 'hardship payment' if you need help with essentials like food, clothing and heating.

Claiming other benefits during a reconsideration

You might be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Income Support while waiting for a decision on your mandatory reconsideration. Claiming these benefits during a mandatory reconsideration shouldn't affect your ESA reconsideration request. Get help from your nearest Citizens Advice if you're not sure whether to claim other benefits.

Claiming Jobseekers Allowance

You'll need to meet the usual eligibility rules to claim JSA, for example you'll need to be actively looking for work.

You should tell the Jobcentre that you're able and willing to look for work; otherwise you won't get any JSA.

If your condition or disability means you can only work or look for work a limited number of hours each week, you can try to agree this with the Jobcentre.

Extended period of sickness

You can be sick while on JSA for a continuous period for up to 13 weeks in a 12-month period. The period of sickness cannot be split into multiple periods. You must however be entitled to JSA before being sick.

If you're a carer or single parent with a child under 5

You could apply for Income Support instead of JSA. This will normally be better for you if you have caring responsibilities and don't want to look for work or sign on at the Jobcentre every 2 weeks. The money you get for Income Support is the same as JSA.

Further information on  Benefit entitlementDebt and money adviceMake your money go further and Changes to benefits

You can find your local benefit advice provider through the Community Hub

If you would like further information you might find the links below useful:

Make your money go further

Changes to benefits

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