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Challenging an Attendance Allowance decision - mandatory reconsideration

This advice applies to Wales

You can challenge an Attendance Allowance decision, for example if:

  • you’ve been told you can’t get the benefit
  • you’ve been given a lower rate than you expected

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  nearest Citizens Advice 

Warning 

Challenging an Attendance Allowance decision could mean you end up with less AA than you were originally awarded, or nothing at all. Get help from your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re about to challenge a decision.

Apply for a mandatory reconsideration’

The first step is to ask the DWP to review their decision. This is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. It means that if you contact the DWP they have to look at your application again and give you a formal response.

You have to apply for a mandatory reconsideration before you can appeal a decision.

The best way to apply for a mandatory reconsideration is to use the CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form on GOV.UK, or write a letter to the DWP explaining why you disagree with their decision.

Your decision letter will tell you where to send your form or letter. Make a copy of your form or letter before you send it in case it gets lost or you need to refer to it later.

You need to make sure that the DWP gets the form or letter within 1 month of the decision. The decision date is the date on your decision letter, not the date you received it.

If you've missed the deadline

If you've missed the 1 month deadline it's still worth asking for a mandatory reconsideration. You'll need to do this within 13 months of the decision. 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 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 to put in the form or letter

You need to write the reasons specific to your condition and why you disagree with the decision.

Look at your decision letter. It will tell you the reasons why the DWP made the decision. Make a note of the statements you disagree with and why you disagree.

Your decision letter might not give much information about why you've been turned down.

In your form or letter, give facts, examples and medical evidence (if available) to support what you're saying. Make sure you use the same words that they use in the decision letter.

Below is an example of what a reconsideration request form or letter might say. Every reconsideration request form or letter will be different - yours needs to contain examples that are specific to your needs.

Example
Your letter says I’m not entitled to AA because I don’t need continual supervision to avoid substantial danger to myself or others. This is incorrect. When I’m at home I need other people to be with me at all times because I can fall and hurt myself when no one is there to watch me. In the past I have knocked heavy things off shelves and hit my head on furniture when I have fallen. This situation could cause injury and is a substantial danger. I need continual supervision to avoid danger to myself.

If you need help with filling in the form or writing your letter, contact your nearest Citizens Advice. Try to get in touch straight away - you might have to wait for an appointment and you only have 1 month to send your letter in.

Talk to your  nearest Citizens Advice if your application is rejected because of lateness.

If you call the DWP to ask for mandatory reconsideration

It's best to use the form or write to the DWP to ask for a mandatory reconsideration. If you call them, they might want to speak to you about your decision before they look at it again. They'll call you back to tell you why your claim was refused. They'll usually do this within 24 hours of your call.

Tell them you don't agree with their decision so you want a mandatory reconsideration. You need to give your evidence to explain why you disagree with the decision, so make sure you've got it ready.

Make sure you tell the DWP if you often need:

  • help with personal care during the day or night, or both
  • someone to look after you during the day to make sure you're safe
  • someone to wake up during the night to watch over you and make sure you're safe

You should also tell the DWP if you forgot to write something in your claim form or want to explain something in more detail. It's important to do this because the DWP will look at your AA decision again while they're on the phone with you.

They'll tell you if they think you should get AA when you speak to them - you won't have to wait for a letter. You should make a note of what you talked about to help you remember what was said.

If the DWP don't change their decision and you still think you should get AA, you'll need to apply for a mandatory reconsideration. Make sure you tell the person on the phone that you're going to do this. You'll need to follow the normal mandatory reconsideration process.

AA helpline (at the DWP)

Telephone: 0800 731 0122 
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Calls to these numbers are free.

Getting your mandatory reconsideration decision letter

The DWP doesn’t have to make a decision on your mandatory reconsideration request within a specific timescale - sometimes it can take several months to get your decision letter. You can complain to the DWP by phone or by writing if you are waiting a long time for your letter.

The decision letter is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’, and you’ll be sent 2 copies.

If the DWP changes their decision, you’ll start getting your AA payment straight away. Your payment for AA will start from the date of your claim.

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 from the date of your claim.

Don’t be put off if they don’t change the decision, not many decisions are overturned at this stage. More decisions are changed after the next stage, which is appealing to a tribunal.

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