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Mandatory Reconsideration is normally the first step of challenging a benefit or tax credit decision. It is asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HMRC to look at their decision again.

You normally have to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision date (the date on the decision letter) if you are challenging a benefit decision.
If you are challenging a Tax Credits decision the deadline is 30 days.

You will not be able to appeal to an independent tribunal unless you have first applied for a Mandatory Reconsideration and received a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

However with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support decisions you can go straight to appeal without having to ask for a mandatory reconsideration.