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Challenging a Universal Credit decision - mandatory reconsideration

This advice applies to England

If you disagree with the decision about your Universal Credit claim, you can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to change it. You’ll need to ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ - this means the DWP will look at the decision again.

You can also ask for a mandatory reconsideration about support for mortgage interest (SMI). SMI is a loan to help pay the interest on your mortgage if you get Universal Credit.

You need to contact the DWP within 1 month of the date of the decision.

Asking for a mandatory reconsideration

When you ask for the mandatory reconsideration you’ll need to include:

  • the date of the decision
  • specific reasons why you disagree
  • your name, address and National Insurance number

There are 4 ways you can ask for a mandatory reconsideration. You can:

  • write a message in your Universal Credit online account, if you have one
  • fill in a CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form on GOV.UK - if you print it out, send it to the address on the top of your decision letter
  • write a letter to the DWP - send it to the address on the decision letter
  • call the number on the decision letter if you’re near the deadline - you should write to the DWP after you call saying why you want a mandatory reconsideration

If you’re writing a letter

Check your decision letter for the address you need to send your letter to. This is different depending on where you live. If you can’t find your decision letter or there's no address on it, contact the DWP to get the address. You should:

  • write a message in your online journal
  • call the Universal Credit helpline if you don’t have an online account

Universal Credit helpline (full service)
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to these numbers are free. It’s best to call from the phone number you gave the DWP when you set up your Universal Credit account. You'll have a shorter wait and be put through to the same person who handled previous calls you've made.

Ask the Post Office for free proof of postage - you might need to show when you sent your letter.

If you’ve missed the 1 month deadline

You can still ask for a mandatory reconsideration, as long as it’s within 13 months of the decision.

You’ll need to give a good reason for why you couldn’t ask within the 1 month deadline - for example because you were seriously ill or you split up from your partner.

You need to explain to the DWP:

  • why you missed the deadline
  • why the decision is wrong
  • why it’s important they change the decision

You can contact the DWP through your online account if you have one. If you don’t have an online account you can call the Universal Credit helpline. Remember to write to the DWP straight afterwards explaining why you want the mandatory reconsideration.

Universal Credit full service helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to this number are free. 

Universal Credit live service helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm

Calls to these numbers are free.

If you aren’t sure which helpline to call, you’ll need to check if you’re in a full or live service area.

The DWP can refuse your request for a mandatory reconsideration if it's late.

You can read more about asking for a mandatory reconsideration if you’ve missed the deadline.

If you still disagree with the DWP’s decision

You can take your challenge to an independent tribunal if you still disagree with the DWP or if they won’t let you make a late mandatory reconsideration request.

The tribunal will look at your arguments and make a decision. They’re overseen by a judge and separate from the DWP.

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