Dispute a benefit decision

There are two stages to disputing a benefit decision:

Stage 1: request a mandatory reconsideration

If you wish to challenge a benefit, tax credit or universal credit decision the first step is to ask for a reconsideration.

Do this by phoning or writing to the office which made the original decision. You should do this within one calendar month of the date of decision (in some cases this can be extended to 13 months). If you have an online Universal Credit account you can make this request on your journal.

Once the decision has been reconsidered you may still disagree with the outcome. If this is the case you can make an appeal. This should be done within one month of the reconsidered decision.

For information on disputing a Housing Benefit or Council Tax reduction decision visit our housing benefit and Council Tax reduction decisions and appeals pages.

If you require local support or advice to dispute or appeal any other benefit, tax credit or universal credit decision, contact our welfare rights service.


Stage 2: appeal the decision

If you are unhappy with your mandatory reconsideration decision, you have the right to have your case heard by an independent appeal tribunal.

This step-by-step guide shows you how to follow an appeal process:

STEP 1

Make sure you have a mandatory reconsideration notice. This is the letter sent to you by the DWP explaining that they have looked at the decision on your claim again.

STEP 2

Go to the GOV.UK webpage and select the type of benefit you are appealing. Most benefit appeals can now be lodged online.  If it is not possible to lodge the appeal online then you will be asked to print off an SSCS1 form and submit the appeal by post.

STEP 3

Complete the form and give grounds (reasons) for your appeal.

STEP 4

We would suggest that you state that you want to attend a hearing. This means you can meet the tribunal panel. The advantage of attending a hearing is that the panel members have the opportunity to hear more about your case and your difficulties. More appeals are successful with a face to face hearing than those being decided on the papers alone. During the COVID-19 period, the majority of appeals are being heard either by video or a telephone hearing.

STEP 5

Submit the appeal online (or by post if required)

STEP 6

Your appeal will then be lodged. You will receive either an email/text message/letter from the office confirming it has been received. The original office which made the decision on your claim has 28 days to respond to the appeal, following this you will receive a set of appeal papers. If you requested a face to face hearing you will then receive a letter with details of the appeal date, time and venue.

STEP 7

Attend your appeal hearing (unless you have opted for the appeal to be heard in your absence)

STEP 8

The decision. You will either get a decision on the day of the hearing or it may be posted or emailed to you within a few days.  If your appeal hearing was unsuccessful, you may wish to seek advice about challenging the decision further.


Local support

If you require support and representation with an appeal then please contact our welfare rights service. They can also provide advice on any part of the appeal process.