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Challenging a Universal Credit decision - mandatory reconsideration

This advice applies to England

You can tell the DWP if you think a decision about your Universal Credit is wrong and should be changed.

It’s best to do this in writing either by sending a letter or through your online Universal Credit account if you have one. This is called asking for  ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

You’ll usually  have 1 calendar month from the date of the decision to ask for mandatory reconsideration. When the DWP have looked at the decision again, they’ll send you a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’. If you've missed the 1 month deadline it's still worth sending your mandatory reconsideration. You'll need to do this within 13 months of the date on your decision letter.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help - an adviser can write the letter with you. Tell them the date of the DWP decision and the 1-month deadline and they’ll try to give you an appointment in time.

If you've missed the 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 1 month.

You should explain why you missed the 1 month deadline either by calling the Universal Credit helpline or by contacting the DWP through your online account if you have one. To help get them to accept your late mandatory reconsideration, say why it’s important they change the decision.

The DWP can refuse your application if it's late, but as long as you applied within 13 months you can still appeal the decision at a tribunal.

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, 8am to 6pm

Calls to these numbers are free.

Appealing to an independent tribunal

If the DWP won’t change their decision you can take your challenge to an independent tribunal. The mandatory reconsideration notice will include information on how to appeal.

Read more about appealing a Universal Credit decision at an independent tribunal.

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