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Challenging a PIP decision

Find out more about Challenging a Personal Independence Payment decision.

1. Options for challenging a PIP decision?

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), what you can do about it depends on what you are unhappy about.

Challenge a decision

You can challenge a decision if you think it is wrong according to the rules.

You may want to challenge a decision because:

  • You should have been awarded more points
  • You should have got a longer award

Beware that if you challenge a decision, it can be changed to make the PIP award lower or shorter.

The decision about your PIP is set out in a letter that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) send you. This is called the decision letter. The date on the letter is the decision date.

Check PIP decision

Before you challenge a decision, you may want to understand it better. Read our Check PIP decision page for tips on checking and understanding your PIP decision. 

Mandatory Reconsideration

Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step of challenging a PIP decision. It is asking the DWP to look at the decision again. 

You must normally ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision date (the date on the decision letter). You may be able to ask for Mandatory Reconsideration later if:

  • You requested a written statement of reasons
  • You have a good reason for the delay

Read about when and how to request a Mandatory Reconsideration on the Ask for Mandatory Reconsideration page of this guide.

Appeal to Tribunal

Appeal to Tribunal is the second step of challenging a PIP decision. It is asking an independent tribunal to look at the decision. You can normally only do this after you have got a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.

You must normally appeal within one month of the date of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice. You may be able to appeal later if Mandatory Reconsideration Notice date is less than 13 months ago and you have a good reason for the delay.

Read about when and how to appeal to Tribunal on the Appeal to Tribunal page of this guide. 

Other Options

Complain

You can complain about bad service or delays.

Read more about when and how to start a complaint on the Complain page of this guide.

Tell your MP

You can tell your MP about bad service or delays. You can also tell them if you think the PIP rules are unfair.

Read more about when and how to tell your MP on the Tell your MP page of this guide.

Apply for Judicial Review

You can apply for judicial review if the way a decision was made was wrong or very unfair.

Read more about judicial review on the Judicial Review page of this guide.

 

Updated August 2017

2. Check a PIP decision

Before you challenge a decision, you may want to understand it better. 

Or you may want to challenge the decision straight away because you normally have to start a challenge within one month of the decision date (or the date you got the decision letter).

The decision about your Personal Independence Payment is in a letter that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) send you. This is  called the decision letter. The decision date is the date on the decision letter.

Check the decision yourself

If you’re not sure whether the decision is right, you can check whether you qualify for PIP using these resources:
•    Look at our Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Test guide to find out what you can score points for
•    Do the PIP questionnaire on the c-App website
•    Do the PIP self test on the Benefits and Work website

If you disagree with the decision, you can ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration, which is the first step of challenging a PIP decision. Read about how to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration on the Ask for Mandatory Reconsideration page of this guide

Get an explanation

If you don’t understand the decision, you can ask the DWP to explain it. 

You don’t have to get an explanation before you challenge a decision. You may want to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration straight away. Read about how to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration on the Ask for Mandatory Reconsideration page of this guide.

To ask for an explanation, contact the DWP using the details on the decision letter. It is a good idea to keep a record when you contact the DWP.

The DWP can explain their decision over the phone or in writing. If you don’t have an explanation in your decision letter and you want an explanation in writing, you can ask for a written statement of reasons.

Explanation and time limits

The normal deadline for asking for a Mandatory Reconsideration is one month from the decision date (or the date you got the decision letter). The deadline can be extended if you ask for a written statement of reasons. 

If you ask for a written statement of reasons and you receive it before the normal deadline, you have an extra two weeks to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration.

If you ask for a written statement of reasons and you receive it after the normal deadline, you have two weeks from the date of the statement to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration. 

Get advice

If you need help to understand the decision about your PIP or you’re not sure what to do next, you can find a local adviser to help you using our Find an Adviser tool.

 

Updated May 2017

3. Ask for 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 normally have to ask for Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision date (the date on the decision letter).

Beware that if you challenge a decision, it can be changed to make your PIP award lower or shorter. If you’re not sure whether you should challenge a decision, you can:

Time limits

You normally have to ask for Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision date (the date on the decision letter).

You may be able to ask for Mandatory Reconsideration later if:

  • You requested a written statement of reasons
  • You have a good reason for the delay

Statement of reasons 

If you asked for a written statement of reasons and you received it before the normal one month deadline, you have an extra two weeks to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration.

If you asked for a written statement of reasons and you received it after the normal one month deadline, you have two weeks from the date of the statement to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration.

Good reason 

You can ask for Mandatory Reconsideration even if it has been more than one month since the decision date.  However, the DWP do not have to reconsider the decision unless:

  • you asked for Mandatory Reconsideration as soon as possible, and
  • the decision date was less than 13 months ago, and
  • you have a good reason for being late.

Examples of a good reason for being late:

  • You were given wrong information about your appeal by an adviser
  • Your partner or relative has been very ill and you had to care for them a lot
  • You have been very mentally or physically unwell and you were unable to appeal before now
  • You have had problems getting post at your address

Ask for Mandatory Reconsideration

The best way to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration is to write to the DWP at the address on your decision letter. You can use the Mandatory Reconsideration request form or write your request in a letter.

You can also ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration over the phone. Use the phone number at the top of your decision letter. It is a good idea to keep a record when you contact the DWP. 

What to say or write

When you ask for Mandatory Reconsideration, tell the DWP (in your phone call or in your letter):

  • Your national insurance number
  • The date of your decision letter
  • Why you disagree with their decision
  • If you are late, tell them why

When you explain why you disagree with their decision, tell the DWP:

  • How many points you think you should have scored for each activity
  • What you think they did not take into account about your disability
  • Give examples of things they should consider

Checking the decision yourself can make it easier to know what to tell the DWP. Read our Check PIP decision page for tips on checking and understanding your PIP decision.

For help writing a letter, you can:

 

Updated June 2018

4. Get Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

The Mandatory Reconsideration Notice is a letter which tells you if the DWP has changed their decision or not, and why.

You have to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration before you can get the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice. Read about how and when to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration on our Ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration page.

How long does it take?

The DWP does not have a deadline for doing the Mandatory Reconsideration. Some reconsiderations take 2 weeks, some take several months. 

If you have not received your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice, it is a good idea to call the DWP after:

  • 2 weeks to check they have logged your Mandatory Reconsideration 
  • 8 weeks to check how much longer it will take
  • 12 weeks to chase again

If you are not happy with how long a Mandatory Reconsideration is taking, you may want to complain or tell your MP.

Phone call

When the DWP are looking again at the decision, they normally phone you to talk about it. If they can’t get through to you, they usually try a few times. 

When the DWP speak to you, you can tell them if there is something else that they should take into account, or if you have documents that you think they need to see. Sending documents can make it take even longer to get a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.

Get Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

When the DWP have looked again at the decision, they send you a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.

You will get two copies of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice. Keep them in a safe place. If you appeal, you will need to send one with your appeal form.

If you still disagree with the decision, you can appeal to Tribunal. Beware that if you challenge a decision, it can be changed to make the PIP award lower or shorter. If you’re not sure whether you should challenge a decision, you can:

You normally have to start your appeal within one month of the date on the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.

Read about when and how to appeal to Tribunal on the Appeal to Tribunal page of this guide

 

Updated August 2017
 

5. Appeal to Tribunal

This page explains when and how to appeal to Tribunal, and gives some tips for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeals. For what happens after you have started your appeal, read our First Tier Tribunal Appeals Process guide

Appealing to Tribunal is the second step of challenging a PIP decision. It is asking an independent tribunal, called the First Tier Tribunal, to look at the decision. You can normally only appeal after you have got a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.

The Mandatory Reconsideration Notice is a letter which tells you if the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) changed the original decision or it is still the same, and why. If you disagree with the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice, you can appeal to a Tribunal. The Tribunal is separate to the DWP. 

Beware that if you challenge a decision, it can be changed to make the PIP award lower or shorter. If you’re not sure whether you should challenge a decision, you can:

Time limits

You normally have to start an appeal to Tribunal within one month of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice date (the date on the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice letter).

You may be able to appeal later if:

  • you started your appeal as soon as possible, and
  • the decision date was less than 13 months ago, and
  • you have a good reason for being late.

Examples of a good reason for being late:

  • You were given wrong information about your appeal by an adviser
  • Your partner or relative has been very ill and you had to care for them a lot
  • You have been very mentally or physically unwell and you were unable to appeal before now
  • You have had problems getting post at your address

Appeal to Tribunal

Start your appeal

You can start your appeal by filling in an appeal form. Make sure you complete all of the form, including the grounds of appeal.

In England, Wales and Scotland, use the SSCS1 appeal form. In Northern Ireland, use the NOA1(SS) appeal form

For grounds of appeal, tell the Tribunal:

  • Which decision you are challenging
  • What you think the right decision was
  • Why you disagree with the DWP’s decision, for example:
    • How many points you think you should have scored for each activity
    • What you think the DWP did not take into account about your disability
    • Give examples of things the DWP should have considered

For your choice of hearing, you can choose between going to a hearing yourself or having your appeal decided on the papers (without you there). It is usually better to attend a hearing. 

For help filling in the form, you can:

Get documents

You might want to get documents to put with your appeal form.  

You don’t have to put papers with your appeal form. However, the more evidence you give of how your disability affects your everyday life, the easier it will be for the Tribunal to know whether the DWP’s decision was right or wrong.

For which documents to get, read the Get documents page of our Claiming PIP guide. It is a good idea to keep a copy of everything that you send.

Send your appeal form in time even if you are waiting for documents. You can always send the documents in later, when you have them.

Send appeal form

Before you send your appeal form, check that you have answered all the questions and that you have signed the appeal form. Put one copy of your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice with the appeal form.

Send the appeal form, the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice and any other documents to the address on the form.

Once you have sent your appeal form, do not send any more documents until your appeal has been received by the Tribunal Service (or The Appeals Service in Northern Ireland) and you get your appeal reference number. 

Tips for next steps

When you get the papers from the DWP, if you can, read the medical assessment report and note anything you disagree with. It is good to read the rest of the papers too but the medical assessment report is usually the most important.

You can take someone with you to the Tribunal. This can be a friend, someone who looks after you or an adviser to represent you. To look for advisers near you, use our Find an adviser tool

For what happens after you have started your appeal, read our First Tier Tribunal Appeals Process guide

 

Updated August 2017
 

6. Complain about a PIP decision

You can complain about poor service or delays.

You may want to complain if:

  • The people dealing with your claim were rude or unhelpful
  • You should have had an assessment at home
  • It is taking too long to get a decision
  • It is taking too long to get a payment
  • There is something wrong in the medical report

If you complain, you may be able to get:

  • An apology
  • An explanation for what went wrong
  • Things done differently in future
  • A decision made more quickly
  • Some compensation

Start your complaint 

Start your complaint by contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

The best way to start a complaint is to write to the DWP. You can use the address at the top of any letter you have about your Personal Independence Payment.

You can also start a complaint by phoning the DWP. Remember to keep a record of when you call, who you speak to and the reference number for your complaint.

  • Telephone: 0800 121 4433
  • Textphone: 0800 121 4493 

You will need to tell the DWP (in your letter or phone call):

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your full name, address and contact numbers
  • What happened, when it happened and how it affected you
  • What you want to happen to put things right

Initial response

The DWP will phone you to discuss your complaint. If they can’t get through, they will send you a letter.

If you are not happy with the initial response, you can ask that your complaint goes to a Complaints Resolution Manager. When a complaint goes to a Complaints Resolution Manager, it is called a Tier One complaint. 

Tier One complaint

After the Complaints Resolution Manager has received your Tier One complaint, they will phone you within two days to update you.  After they have phoned you, they will deal with the complaint and you will hear from them again within three weeks (or 15 working days). 

If you are not happy with the response from the Tier One complaint, you can ask that your complaint goes to a senior DWP manager. When a complaint goes to a senior DWP manager, it is called a Tier Two complaint.

Tier Two complaint

After the senior DWP manager has received your Tier Two complaint, they will deal with the complaint within three weeks (or 15 working days). They may phone you to discuss your complaint. They will send you a letter to which is the final response to your complaint.

If you are not happy with the response from the Tier Two complaint, you can take your complaint to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE), which is separate from the DWP.  You can find out how to take a complaint to ICE on the Independent Case Examiner page of the gov.uk website

 

Updated: November 2018

7. Tell your MP

Your MP is your local Member of Parliament. Each MP represents the people in their local area, or constituency.

You can tell your MP about bad service or delays. You can also tell them if you think the PIP rules are unfair.

You may want to tell your MP if:

  • Claiming PIP has been a bad experience
  • The DWP is taking too long to deal with your complaint
  • You think the law should be changed because the rules are unfair

If you tell your MP, you could:

  • Get an apology or an explanation
  • Get a decision made faster
  • Help get the law changed

Find your MP

You can find your local MP and their contact details on the Find your MP page of the Parliament website

Contact your MP

You can contact your MP using the details on the Find your MP page of the Parliament website or you can contact them online using the They Work For You website

You will need to tell your MP:

  • Any reference number you have from the DWP for your claim or your complaint
  • Your full name, address and contact numbers
  • What happened, when it happened and how it affected you
  • What you want to happen to put things right

 

Updated May 2017

8. PIP Judicial Review

Judicial review is when a court looks at how a decision was made.

A court may review a DWP decision or a process to check that the DWP followed the law when they made the decision or used the process. 

You may want to ask for judicial review if:

  • It is taking far too long to get a decision
  • Your PIP award was stopped or reduced but you didn’t get a letter about it
  • The DWP made a mistake that affects your PIP and they have refused to look at it again
  • The procedures that DWP staff follow stop them from applying the law correctly

You can’t ask for judicial review if you can ask for mandatory reconsideration or appeal instead.

Time limits

You normally have to start a judicial review application within three months of the decision, action or failure that you are unhappy about.

Apply for Judicial Review

Judicial review is a complicated process. If you want to know more about judicial review and whether it is right in your case, you should get legal advice as soon as possible.

You can find legal advice near you using our Find an adviser tool

 

Updated May 2017