Challenging a PIP decision - mandatory reconsideration
If you disagree with the decision that’s been made about your PIP claim you can challenge it. You should challenge it within 1 month of the decision.
You can challenge the decision about PIP if:
- you didn’t get it
- you got a lower rate than you expected
- you think your award isn’t long enough
If you want to challenge the decision because your condition has got worse you’ll need to follow a different procedure, so you should get advice from your local Citizens Advice.
The latest government statistics from Great Britain show that more than half of PIP decisions are changed after mandatory reconsideration or an appeal to a tribunal, so do challenge the decision if you think it’s wrong. It won’t cost you anything to appeal.
Apply for mandatory reconsideration
The best way to apply for a reconsideration is to write a letter to the Department for Communities (DfC) explaining why you disagree with the decision. You need to make sure that they receive the letter within 1 month of the decision. The decision date is on your letter - it isn’t the date you got the letter.
If you've missed the 1 month deadline it's still worth sending your mandatory reconsideration, as long as it's within 13 months of the date the 1 month deadline ended. You'll need to explain your reasons for being late - for example if being ill or dealing with difficult personal circumstances meant you couldn't apply in time. Use the letter to explain why your application is late, as well as why you disagree with their decision.
The DfC can refuse your application if it's late, but as long as you applied within 13 months you can still appeal their decision at a tribunal.
Your decision letter will say that you can call the DfC to ask for a reconsideration. You can do this, but it is best to have everything in writing. If you’d prefer to call, make sure you follow up the call with a letter.
What you need to say
You need to give specific reasons why you disagree with the decision. Use your decision letter, statement of reasons and medical assessment report to make a note of each of the statements you disagree with and why. Give facts, examples and medical evidence (if available) to support what you’re saying.
Example based on problems preparing food
The report from my medical assessment states I don’t need any aids or help to prepare my meals. This is untrue. I can’t cook any food from scratch - I can only heat up food in a microwave and I need to use a stool in my kitchen.
Example based on mobility problems
I don’t think you have adequately assessed the extent of my mobility problems. You say I can walk 50 metres unaided. In reality, doing this causes me significant pain and would mean I can’t walk for the rest of the day. I have enclosed a letter from my physiotherapist which explains this in more detail.
You can look at the points system the PIP case manager uses to assess PIP claims to see where you think you should have got more points.
If you need some help with your appeal, contact your local Citizens Advice. Try to get in touch straight away - you might have to wait for an appointment and you only have a month to send your letter in.
If you’ve missed the deadline
If you’ve missed the 1 month deadline, you can still apply for a reconsideration, as long as it’s within 13 months of the decision. You’ll need to give a good reason for being late, like a bereavement or being in hospital.
The PIP case manager doesn’t have to consider a late application, so try to send your letter as soon as you can. Explain in the letter why your application is late, as well as why you disagree with their decision.
Getting your mandatory reconsideration result
The PIP case manager doesn’t have to make the decision within a specific timescale and sometimes it can take several months to get your decision letter, especially if you have sent in new evidence. The decision letter is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’. You’ll be sent 2 copies - you’ll need to send 1 off if you need to go to the next stage of appeal.
If the PIP case manager changes their decision, you’ll start getting your PIP payment straight away. Your payment for PIP will start from the date of the original decision. If you’re challenging the rate you’ve been put on and the case manager changes the decision, the PIP Centre will pay you the difference for the time it takes them to make the decision.
Don’t be put off if they don’t change the decision. If your mandatory reconsideration is turned down you can appeal to a tribunal.