How to appeal a benefits decision

If you’re unhappy with a decision by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about your benefits or tax credits, it’s important to follow the right process. Here’s a summary of what you need to do and when.

Ask for a mandatory reconsideration

Important

Make sure you read the notes about how to disagree with a decision before asking for a mandatory reconsideration.

If you disagree with a benefits decision by the DWP or HMRC you can ask for to be looked at again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration. This means another person will look at the decision and see if it can be changed.

You must go through this stage before you can appeal.

Usually, you must ask for the mandatory reconsideration within one month of the date on your decision letter (or the message in your online account if you’re claiming Universal Credit).

If you miss the deadline, the department making the decision doesn’t have to accept your request unless you had a very good reason, for example you were in hospital, or a close relative died.

How to ask for a mandatory reconsideration - DWP

You ask the DWP for a mandatory reconsideration by either:

  • phone, using the number on the decision letter
  • writing a letter
  • completing form CRMR1
  • writing a message in your Universal Credit online account

Explain why you think their decision is wrong and send copies of any further evidence you’ve got if you think it will help your case.

Download the CRMR1 form and notes about how to disagree with a decision on Gov.uk.

How to ask for a mandatory reconsideration - HMRC

You ask HMRC for a mandatory reconsideration by either:

  • phone, using the number on the decision letter
  • writing a letter
  • completing form CH24A for a Child Benefit or Guardian’s Allowance decision
  • completing form WTC/AP (or using the online service) for a tax credits decision

When the decision has been reconsidered

When the DWP or HMRC has looked at your decision again, they will send you two copies of a document called a mandatory reconsideration notice to let you know the outcome of the reconsideration.

Find out more about asking for a mandatory reconsideration on the Citizens Advice website.

How to appeal

You can only appeal against a benefits decision when you’ve received a mandatory reconsideration notice.

You must appeal within one month of the date on your mandatory reconsideration notice.

Appealing against a DWP decision

To appeal you need to send the following to HM Courts & Tribunals Service (the address is on the form):

Appealing against an HMRC decision

To appeal you need to send the following to HM Courts & Tribunals Service (the address is on the form):

Find out more about appealing following a reconsideration on the Citizens Advice website.

Get expert help and advice

If you’re going ahead with an appeal it’s a good idea to get some expert help from the Citizens Advice Service or your local Law Centre, for example.

How to challenge a decision by your local authority

If you want to challenge a decision by your council about your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, contact your council to question its decision and follow its appeals procedure.

If you disagree with your local authority’s decision not to pay for your care or don’t think they’ve offered enough support to meet your needs, read our guide How to challenge your local authority over your careopens in new window.

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