Changing a DWP benefit decision by supersession
If you're getting a benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and your circumstances change, the DWP can decide to change the original decision that was made on your claim. This is called a supersession (the DWP also call this process 'a change of circumstances review').
The DWP can also use supersession to change a decision in other circumstances. For example, if the law changes or if they receive a new medical report about your fitness for work.
This page explains more about how supersession works, how to ask for a supersession and what happens if you don’t agree with a supersession decision.
What is a supersession decision?
A benefit decision is a legal decision that can only be changed if the law allows. One of the ways that a decision can be changed is by supersession. A supersession decision changes the benefit decision from the date the change happens, rather than the date when the decision was made.
If you’re owed any extra benefit, you’ll only get if from the date of the change, or the date when the DWP becomes aware of the change. You can’t be backdated any money.
There are only certain reasons why a decision can be changed by supersession. The main reasons when a supersession decision will be used will be:
- if you tell the DWP your circumstances have changed
- if the DWP become aware that something's changed.
If your circumstances have changed
The main reason why you would ask the DWP for a supersession will be if your circumstances have changed in some way and you think your benefit should be re-calculated. Reasons for asking for a supersession include:
- you have had a new baby
- you have got a job or are working more hours
- your health condition or disability has got worse or improved
- your savings have increased or decreased
- you now have limited capability for work.
When the DWP can make a supersession decision
The DWP can also make a supersession decision if they find out about a change to your claim. They may make a supersession decision if:
- you are sanctioned and your benefits are reduced or stopped
- the law changes
- they are given new medical information that changes your benefit decision.
Which decisions can be changed by supersession?
You can ask for a decision to be changed by supersession or a decision maker can decide that it needs to be changed without you asking. The law says that a decision maker must show there are grounds to change the decision.
Decisions which can be changed include:
- the original decision
- a revised decision
- a Tribunal decision
- an Upper Tribunal or Commissioners decision.
How to ask for a supersession
Apply to the DWP office that made the decision. You can apply by phone or in writing. It is best to apply in writing so you have proof. Keep a copy of your letter and a note of the date you sent it.
If you apply for a supersession within one month of your change of circumstances, the new decision on your benefit will apply from the date your circumstances changed. If more than one month has passed, the new decision will apply from the date you applied for the supersession.
A decision maker will look at your application and decide if there is enough information to make a decision. They can ask you for more information or evidence if they need it.
You will have at least one month to provide the information or evidence. You can ask the decision to allow you more time if it will be difficult for you to provide the information by the deadline. However, they don’t have to agree to this.
If you don’t provide information by the deadline you've agreed with the decision maker, they will make a decision based on the information they have.
If you want to challenge a supersession decision
If you are not happy with the new decision, for example it does not give you everything you asked for, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called a reconsideration. The DWP call it a mandatory reconsideration. You must do this within one month of the date the decision was sent to you. This time limit can be extended by 13 months in some circumstances.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the reconsideration, you can appeal.