How to appeal against a disability benefits decision

If you’re unhappy with a decision about your sickness or disability benefits, it’s important to follow the right process. Here’s a summary of what you need to do and when.

Contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

As a first step, you can contact the DWP and tell them why you don’t agree with their decision.

The telephone number and address will be on their decision letter. You can ask them to explain the reasons for the decision.

If you are not satisfied with their explanation you can ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

This means another person will look at the decision again and see if it can be changed.

You must ask for a mandatory reconsideration within one month of the date on the decision letter.

Act quickly if you want to challenge the decision. If you miss the deadline, the DWP 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

Contact the DWP by telephone or in writing, and let them know that you are asking for a mandatory reconsideration.

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.

When the DWP 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 disability benefits decision when you’ve received a mandatory reconsideration notice.

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 websiteopens in new window.

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 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 care.

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