Challenging a DLA decision - mandatory reconsideration
You can appeal against a decision on the DLA claim you made for your child - for example, if:
- you’ve been told your child’s not eligible for DLA
- you’ve been given a lower rate than you expected
It’s possible that you could end up with less DLA than you were originally awarded, or nothing at all. However, many people have their decision overturned at the tribunal stage. We recommend that you get help from Citizens Advice if you’re about to challenge a decision.
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.
First step - ask the DWP to review the decision
The first step in the appeal process is to ask DWP to review their decision. This is called asking for ‘mandatory reconsideration’.
If you ask for mandatory reconsideration, the DWP has to look at your claim again and give you a formal response.
The best way to ask for mandatory reconsideration is to write a letter to the DWP explaining why you disagree with their decision - the address you need will be on your DLA decision letter.
You need to make sure that the DWP gets your request for mandatory reconsideration within 1 month of the decision date. If there’s a risk that the letter won’t reach the DWP in time, you should ring the DLA helpline and tell them.
You can also phone the DLA helpline to ask for mandatory reconsideration. If you do this we recommend that you have everything in writing in case you need written proof later on. If you prefer to call, you should still write a letter to the DWP summarising what you talked about over the phone.
DLA helpline (part of the DWP)
Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Calls to these numbers are free.
What to put in your letter
You need to write the reasons specific to your child’s claim and why you disagree with the decision.
Look at your decision letter. It will say how the DWP has decided on your application. Make a note of the statements you disagree with and why.
In your reconsideration letter, give facts, examples and medical evidence (if available) to support what you're saying. One way to be clear about what you disagree with is to use the same words that they use in the decision.
Below is an example of what a reconsideration request letter might say. Every reconsideration request letter will be different - yours needs to contain examples that are specific to your child's needs as a unique individual.
“Your letter says I’m not entitled to DLA because my child doesn’t need continual supervision to avoid substantial damage to himself or others. This is incorrect. When my child is at home I have to be in the same room with him at all times because he can hurt himself when I’m not there to watch him. He often throws fits - in the past he has knocked heavy things off shelves and hit his head on furniture. This could cause him substantial damage. He needs continual supervision to avoid damage to himself.”
If you’ve missed the deadline
If you’ve missed the 1 month deadline, you can still ask for mandatory 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. Explain in the letter why your application is late, as well as why you disagree with their 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.
Talk to your nearest Citizens Advice if your application is rejected because of lateness.
What happens next
The DWP doesn’t have to make a decision on your mandatory reconsideration within a specific timescale - sometimes it can take several months to get your decision letter.
This letter is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice' - you’ll be sent 2 copies.
If the DWP changes their decision, you’ll start getting your DLA payment straight away. If you’re challenging the rate you’ve been put on and the DWP changes the decision in your favour, they'll 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 it’s not in your favour. More decisions are changed after the next stage, which is appealing to a tribunal.