If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your benefit claim, then you can ask for a reconsideration or appeal the decision.
You can write or phone the benefit office that made the decision to ask for a reconsideration. A different officer will review the claim and any new information or evidence you provide. If the result doesn’t change, they will write to let you know that you can appeal to an independent tribunal. You do not have to ask for a reconsideration before making an appeal, but it can resolve the matter quicker.
Who do I appeal to?
You need to make sure that you appeal to the right place:
|Benefit you're appealing
||Who to appeal to
|Benefits like Jobseekers allowance or Employment and support allowance
||Department for Work & Pensions (DWP)
||Your local council
|Council tax reduction scheme
||Your local council
How do I make an appeal?
If you are appealing against a decision made by the DWP, then you will need to fill in the form on the GL24 leaflet. To appeal against a decision about your entitlement to housing benefits or the council tax reduction scheme, then you can complete our appeals form.
Alternatively, you can write in as long as you include; your full name, address, national insurance number, the benefit you are appealing, the date of the benefits decision and details of why you think the decision is wrong.
Is there a time limit for making an appeal?
Yes, you have one month from the date given on the letter explaining the result of your claim. This can be extended if you ask the benefits office to explain their decision. You may still be able to appeal if you miss the deadline, but only in special circumstances e.g. if you have been ill.
When you appeal
The benefits department will write to let you know that they have received your appeal. If you have not heard anything after 14 days, then you should contact the department to see if they have received it. When the department looks at your appeal, they will review their decision and if they decide that you are right, then they will write to you to confirm this. If the decision is changed but you do not agree with the result, then you will have to appeal against the new decision. If you appeal and the department feel that their decision is correct and should not be changed, your appeal will be sent to the Tribunal Service to arrange a tribunal.
The Tribunal Service will send you an enquiry form to make sure that you want to continue with your appeal as well as a copy of all the documents related to your case. You must complete and return the enquiry form within 14 days otherwise your appeal might not go ahead. If the deadline passes but you have a good reason for missing it, you should contact the Tribunal Service to explain your situation as your appeal may still be heard.
Paper or oral hearings
The Tribunal Service enquiry form gives you the option to have a paper or an oral hearing. If you choose to have paper hearing, you do not attend a tribunal and the outcome of your appeal will be decided by looking at your appeal papers and any other evidence. If you decide that you would prefer an oral hearing, then you would argue your case in person with the option of having a friend, representative or witness go with you.
Any evidence you provide during your appeal should be about your circumstances before the benefit decision was made and sent to the Tribunal Service at least 2 weeks before your tribunal. If you bring evidence on the day of the tribunal, you will have to explain why you could not send it earlier. Anything you tell the tribunal in person is evidence.
Tribunals are chaired by a legally qualified judge and are independent from the DWP and other benefit authorities. There may be a doctor and another tribunal member there if you your appeal is about a disability benefit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You will be asked questions, given the chance to ask your own questions and explain why you think the decision is wrong. Normally, you would get a decision on the same day as the tribunal.
What can I do if I lose my appeal?
You may be able to appeal if there has been a legal mistake but not just because you are unhappy with the decision. If your circumstances have changed, then you may be able to make a new claim or claim a different benefit instead.