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You are here - Home > Benefits and Allowances > Appeal Against A DWP Benefits Decision

Appeal Against A DWP Benefits Decision

You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you disagree with a decision about benefits (DWP), tax credits or child maintenance

How to Appeal
Before you appeal
Appeal to the tribunal
What happens at the hearing
The tribunal's decision

There are different ways to appeal if you disagree with a decision about benefits managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), tax credits or child maintenance.

How to appeal

Ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you appeal - you’ll usually need to do this within one month of the date of a decision about most benefits, tax credits or child maintenance (sometimes known as ‘child support’).

You can’t usually appeal to the tribunal if you haven’t asked for mandatory reconsideration within the time limit.

After your mandatory reconsideration decision, you’ll usually need to appeal to the tribunal within a month.



Housing benefit

You don’t need to ask for mandatory reconsideration if you’re appealing a decision about Housing Benefit - you’ll need to appeal to the local council that made the decision.

Help you can get

Contact Citizens Advice if you want help with your appeal; for example with filling in forms or going to a hearing.

You can also ask an adviser, friend, family member or lawyer to appeal on your behalf.

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Before you appeal

You must ask for mandatory reconsideration within a month of the date of a decision about:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • child maintenance (sometimes known as ‘child support’)
  • Compensation Recovery Scheme (including NHS recovery claims) - contact the Compensation Recovery Unit before you appeal to the tribunal
  • Diffuse Mesotheliomia Payment Scheme
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Funeral Payments
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant
  • tax credits
  • Universal Credit
  • Vaccine Damage Payment
  • Winter Fuel Payment

You normally can’t appeal to the tribunal if you haven’t asked for mandatory reconsideration.

Ask for mandatory reconsideration

Write to the department that gave you the decision and say you want a mandatory reconsideration - the address is on your decision letter.

You must explain why you think the decision is wrong and include any evidence you have to support this.

If the decision is about Child Benefit or Guardian’s Allowance, fill in form CH24A or phone HMRC.

There’s a different way to ask for a mandatory reconsideration for tax credits.

Call the phone number on your decision letter first if you’re asking for a mandatory reconsideration more than one month after the date of the decision.

What happens next

Your original decision will be reconsidered - you’ll get a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’ (sometimes known as a ‘written statement of reasons’) telling you whether the decision’s been changed.

You can appeal to the tribunal if you’re still not satisfied - you must do this within one month of the date of your mandatory reconsideration notice.

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Appeal to the tribunal

You must either ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ or take other steps before you appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal - it depends on what you’re appealing.

The tribunal is independent of government. A judge will listen to both sides of the argument before making a decision.

Fill in an appeal form

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

Benefit Form
Child maintenance
Tax credits, Child Benefit, Guardian’s Allowance
Compensation Recovery Scheme
NHS charges under the Compensation Recovery Scheme
If you didn’t have to get mandatory reconsideration
  • SSCS1A if you’re appealing a decision made by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • SSCS5A if you’re appealing a decision made by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • SSCS6A if you’re appealing a decision about the Diffuse Mesotheliomia Payment Scheme

You must explain why you think the decision is wrong and include any evidence you have to support this.

Send your form and a copy of your mandatory reconsideration notice (if you have one) to the address on the form. You can also appeal by writing a letter.

Time limit

You must usually send your appeal within a month of either:

  • the date of your mandatory reconsideration notice (if you have one)
  • the date of the decision you’re appealing

Late appeals

You must say why your appeal’s late when you appeal. You can sometimes appeal up to 13 months after the date of the original decision; for example, if you were:

  • ill or in hospital
  • coping with bereavement
  • unable to send your appeal form, for example because of a postal strike

The tribunal will contact the other party - they can object to late appeals. The tribunal will then decide if the appeal can be heard.

Choose if you want a hearing

You must choose whether:

  • you want to go to a hearing - you’ll be able to present your case to a tribunal
  • you want your appeal decided on your application form and supporting documents

If you want to go to a hearing you must say whether:

  • you have a representative who’ll be at the hearing
  • you need an interpreter
  • you need any special arrangements, for example because of mobility or other health issues
  • there are any days when you can’t make the hearing

Help with the form

Call the helpline if you have any questions about completing the form. The helpline can’t give you legal advice.

Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (England and Wales) 
Telephone: 0300 123 1142 
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm

Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (Scotland)
Telephone: 0141 354 8400
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm

What happens next

Your application will be sent to the other party - they’ll be asked to respond. You’ll be sent the response, and you must bring it with you to the hearing.

The tribunal will then write to you with a hearing date. The hearing will usually take place at the nearest tribunal to where you live.

You must send your evidence to the tribunal as soon as you can before the hearing so it can be sent to all parties. More information will be on the letter you get confirming your hearing date.

Change your hearing date

Write to the tribunal to see if you can change the hearing date if you’re unable to attend - the address is on the letter confirming your hearing date. The tribunal will make a decision and let you know.

Withdrawing your appeal

You must also write to the tribunal for permission if you want to withdraw your appeal once the hearing has started. You don’t need permission to withdraw your appeal before the hearing’s started.

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What happens at the hearing

You must take your appeal papers and the documents you’re using as evidence. Evidence will usually be shared with all parties.

At the hearing

You (and anyone you’ve brought to take part in the hearing) may be asked questions by:

  • your representative (if you have one), such as a lawyer, friend, family member or someone from an advice centre
  • the government department or council’s representative (known as the ‘presenting officer’)
  • a panel of experts - who they are depends on what the case is about
  • the judge

The tribunal will provide you with an interpreter if you’ve asked for one. They can translate what happens during the hearing but they can’t represent you or give you legal advice.

Claim expenses

You may be able to claim for reasonable expenses for going to the tribunal, for example:

  • travel expenses to cover your fare if you get there using public transport
  • travel expenses of 12p per mile if you drive, plus 2p per mile for up to 2 passengers
  • meals - £4.25 if you’re away for more than 5 hours, £9.30 for more than 10 hours or £13.55 for more than 12 hours
  • loss of earnings - £37.06 if you’re away from work for up to 4 hours or £71.80 for 4 hours or more
  • care expenses up to the National Minimum Wage, for example for a childminder

The clerk will help you fill in a claim form when you go to the hearing. Contact the tribunal before the hearing if you need help.

Make sure you take:

  • receipts
  • a letter from your employer for loss of earnings
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The tribunal's decision

You’ll get the decision either:

  • at the hearing
  • by post

If you’re unhappy with the decision

You may be able to:

  • get a decision ‘set aside’
  • appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber)

Your decision letter has more information.

Get a decision set aside

You’ll be told how to get a decision ‘set aside’ (cancelled) if you think there’s been a mistake in the process. Contact Citizens Advice Bureau if you need help.

Appeal to the Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeals Chamber

You can only appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) if you think the decision was wrong for a legal reason, for example, if the tribunal didn’t:

  • give proper reasons for its decision, or back up the decision with facts
  • apply the law properly

Contact Citizens Advice Bureau if you need help.

You must then follow 3 steps.

  1. Ask the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal for full written reasons (known as a ‘statement of reasons’) within one month of the date of the decision. The decision letter will tell you how to do this.

  2. Ask the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber).

  3. If the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal refuses, ask the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) for permission to appeal.

Legislation

The tribunal must follow the rules in the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement Chamber) Rules 2008.


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