Whether you are deputy, attorney or carer for a person who lacks capacity, you may be tasked with ensuring that the individual whose financial affairs you are handling is receiving the welfare benefits that he or she is entitled to.

Once an application for a benefit is made, a decision maker at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will decide whether the benefit is payable or not, and at what rate. This is usually done by reference to an individual’s financial circumstances, amongst other considerations.

If your request for a benefit is rejected, one should not necessarily accept an adverse decision. Decision makers can and sometimes do make the wrong decision and you may have the right to ask for the decision initially reached, to be considered again. It should be noted that not all decision can be appealed.

Mandatory Reconsideration

Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step of challenging a PIP decision. It is asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at their decision again. You can either call or write to the DWP to request a mandatory reconsideration.

When you ask for Mandatory Reconsideration, you must infirm the DWP of the following:

  • Your national insurance number;
  • The date of your decision letter;
  • Why you disagree with the DWP’s decision.

You should usually request a Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision date.). If that date is missed, you can request for additional time within which to request a reconsideration certain limited circumstances.

Appeal to a Tribunal

If your attempt at having the decision changed fails, you can make a further appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.

You normally have to lodge an appeal within one month of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice date.

You can begin your appeal by completing an appeal form known as the SSCS1 for social security benefits decisions. There are other forms for child maintenance and compensation recovery decisions. You will need to include and refer to the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice when drafting your appeal and provide very specific reasons as to which aspects of the decision you are appealing against. It is important to ensure that your appeal is lawfully made.

Please note that if you challenge a DWP decision and the individual is already receiving the award, the reconsideration can result in an award being reduced or increased. It is therefore important that care is taken when appealing and it is strongly advised that professional advice is sought.