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Challenging a DWP benefit decision - where to start

This advice applies to Wales

If you don’t agree with a decision that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has made about your benefit claim, you may be able to challenge it.

This page tells you more about how to challenge a  DWP benefit decision.

This information does not cover challenges to benefit decisions made on claims for tax credits, Child Benefit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction.

Top tips

Time Limits

It will be difficult to challenge a decision if you miss the time limit. If you are not sure if a written statement of reasons was sent with the decision, make sure you dispute it within one month. If you are late, make sure you explain the reasons in as much detail as you can.

Which benefits are paid by the DWP?

If you're getting one of these benefits and you want to challenge a decision made on a claim, you will need to follow the new DWP appeals process. The benefits paid by the DWP are:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement benefits
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Social Fund payments
  • State Pension
  • Universal Credit
  • Widow's benefits.

If you’re challenging a decision on a new claim

You have the right to challenge most benefit decisions within one month of the date you were sent the letter or email telling you about the decision.

This deadline can be extended by up to 14 days if you ask for written statement of reasons for the decision or if you meet special rules that allow you more time to respond.

If you’re not sure whether the decision included a written statement of reasons it is important to ask for it to be looked at again as soon as possible, so that you don’t miss the one-month deadline.

To challenge a decision you don't agree with, you need to ask for it to be looked at again. This is called a reconsideration. The DWP call it a mandatory reconsideration.

When you ask for a reconsideration, a DWP decision maker will look at your claim and decide if the decision is correct.

You will not be able to make a formal appeal against the decision until there has been a reconsideration of your claim.

If your circumstances have changed

The decision may be changed because you report a change of circumstances and a new decision is made on how much to pay you. Changes of circumstances include things like having a new baby, getting a job or your health condition or disability getting worse.

If you don't agree with the decision the DWP makes when you've reported a change of circumstances you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called asking for a reconsideration.

►More about if your circumstances change

There is a special reason why your benefit has changed

There are special rules which only apply to certain benefits. If your benefit is changed in some way and you don't agree with the decision you can challenge it by asking for a reconsideration.

If you've been sanctioned

If the DWP has stopped or reduced your benefit because you've been sanctioned, you may want to challenge the decision.

If your benefit decision may be wrong because of official errors or changes in the law

Your benefit decision may be wrong because an official error has been made. This could be because:

  • The decision maker got the law wrong
  • The decision maker wasn't aware of, or didn't take account of facts that might affect your claim.

If this happens you can ask for the decision maker to revise the decision

Appealing against a decision

If you don’t agree with the outcome of the reconsideration for your claim, you can usually appeal to an independent tribunal. You can only appeal after you have asked the DWP for a reconsideration of the decision. You must do this first or your appeal claim won't be accepted. The letter or email telling you the reconsideration decision will tell you if you can appeal.

If you appeal, an independent tribunal will decide if the decision is right or wrong. Your appeal will usually be heard by a tribunal and you will have the chance to say why you think the decision is wrong.

If you're too late to ask for reconsideration or appeal against a decision

If you find out that the decision on your claim was wrong but have missed the time limit for challenging it, you may be able to ask for the decision to be revised.

If the decision is revised in your favour you will be paid any extra benefit you have missed out on.

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