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Challenging an Employment and Support Allowance decision - Have the decision looked at again

Find out more about Challenging an Employment and Support Allowance decision.

Have the decision looked at again

You should ask the benefit office to look at the Employment and Support Allowance decision again if you think the decision is wrong.

This is known as a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ of the decision.

Action

Write to the benefit office using the contact details on your decision letter and ask them to look at the decision again.

You should tell them in detail why you think the decision is wrong including any relevant dates.

You can attach copies of any relevant information, for example, any recent medical letters or other evidence you think may be relevant.

Obtaining medical evidence

You don't have to send in medical evidence but it can be extremely useful in supporting your challenge of the decision especially if it contradicts the medical assessment report produced by the healthcare professional.

Your evidence can be from doctors, consultants, community psychiatric nurses or any other health care professionals.

The evidence should focus on how you meet the criteria set out in the Work Capability Assessment

For example, if you are arguing against the medical assessor’s finding that you can walk more than 100 metres without discomfort, then ask your doctor to comment on this.

Try and speak to your health care professional to outline the difficulties you have with the activities and descriptors which apply to you.

If you have kept a diary of your difficulties you can give this to your doctor.  Alternatively, consider providing your doctor (or other professional) a brief summary of the activities you have problems with and the kinds of difficulties you have.

If you are unable to get medical evidence, you can ask the Tribunal Judge to obtain a copy of your medical records.

Tips

You should send the letter recorded delivery so there is a record of when it was sent and also keep a copy of the letter.

A different decision maker will look at the decision and decide whether it should be changed.

If you are asked for more information or evidence, you should provide this as soon as possible and let them know if there will be a delay.

Time limits

You have one month from the date on the decision letter to ask for the decision to be looked at again.

You may get longer if you ask for an explanation of the decision to be sent to you.

If you missed the deadline for reasons out of your control, such as illness or bereavement, you may still be able to have your decision looked at again.

When you contact the benefit office, you should explain why you missed the deadline.

Possible outcomes

When the decision has been looked at again you will be sent a mandatory reconsideration notice. Keep this safe as you will need it if you want to appeal.

If they decide the decision is wrong they will change the decision and send a new decision letter.

If they decide that they can’t change the decision they will write to you to confirm this and tell you if you have a right to appeal.

Benefits whilst having an ESA decision looked at again

Whilst your ESA decision is being reconsidered you cannot continue to receive ESA.

You may be able to claim another benefit such as Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support if you are eligible. For example, if you claim Jobseeker's Allowance you will have to be available for and actively seeking work. You can put limitations on the type of work you will search for depending on your health condition.

Claiming another benefit will not affect your Employment and Support Allowance appeal. 

If you still think the decision is wrong:

You may be able to appeal against the decision find out more on the next page.

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