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Challenging a Budgeting Loan decision

Find out more about Challenging a Budgeting Loan decisions.

1. What are my options?

If you think a Budgeting Loan decision is wrong, you may be able to:

  • Ask for an explanation

  • Have the decision looked at again

  • Have the decision looked at by the Independent Case Examiner's office

This guide takes you through these options.

Applies to: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Advice: If you need advice about a benefits or tax credits decision, you should contact a benefits adviser. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local one.

2. Ask for an explanation

You should ask for an explanation of the reasons for the decision if you are unsure whether the decision is right or if you want more information to help you challenge the decision.

Action

Contact the benefit office using the contact details on your decision letter and ask for an explanation for the decision.

You should also tell them why you think the decision is wrong as they may be able to change it without needing to go any further.

If your first language isn't English, the benefit office should provide an interpreter to explain the decision.

Tip

If you telephone the benefit office, make a note of:

  • the date and time you call

  • who you speak to

  • what is said

This may come in useful if you want to try to get the decision changed.

Time limits

You should ask for an explanation of the reasons for the decision as soon as possible as there are strict time limits if you want to go on to challenge the decision.

Possible outcomes

An explanation will usually be provided by telephone, but must be in writing if you requested a written explanation.

If you ask for a written explanation for the decision you will usually receive this within 14 days.

When you have received the explanation, you may think the decision is correct or you may think the decision is wrong. 

If you think the decision is wrong, for example, because it was based on information that was wrong or they did not have all the information, you should tell them. They may be able to change the decision and send you a new decision letter without you needing to go any further, or they can explain what you can do next.
 

If you still think the decision is wrong

You may be able to have the decision looked at again, find out more on the next page.
 

3. Have the decision looked at again

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

You may hear this referred to as a ‘reconsideration’, ‘revision’, or ‘review’ 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.

Explain in detail why you think the decision is wrong including any relevant dates.

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 28 days from the date on the decision letter to ask for the decision to be looked at again.

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 including details of any special circumstances that prevented you contacting them in time.
 

Possible outcomes

When the decision has been looked at again, if they decide that the decision is wrong the decision will be changed and you will be sent 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 can apply to have the decision looked at by an officer at the Independent Case Examiner’s office (ICE).

 

If you still think the decision is wrong:

You can ask to have the decision looked at by the Independent Case Examiner’s office (ICE), see the next page for more details

4. Have the decision looked at by the Independent Case Examiner’s office (ICE)

You must ask the benefit office to look at the decision again before you can have the decision looked at by an officer at the Independent Case Examiner's office (ICE).

You should ask the Independent Case Examiner's office (link opens in a new window) to look at the decision again if you think the decision is still wrong. The ICE is an independent organisation, completely separate from the Department for Work and Pensions.
 

 Action

Contact the ICE office in writing using the contact details on your decision letter and ask them to look at the decision again.

In your letter you should include:

  • Your name and contact details

  • Your national insurance number

  • Details of the item(s) you applied for

  • The date of the decision made by the benefit office

  • Details of why you disagree with the decision made by the benefit office

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

You may be asked for more information or evidence. You should provide it as soon as possible and let them know if there is likely to be a delay.

 

Time limits

You have 28 days from the date on the latest decision letter.

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.

If you have missed the time limit, you should explain why when you contact the ICE office.

 

Possible outcomes

When the decision has been looked at again, if the ICE office decide that it is wrong, the decision will be changed and you will be sent a new decision letter. 

The benefit office will prepare your payment but this will not be ready on the same day that you receive your decision.

If the ICE office decide that they can’t change the decision, they will write to you to confirm this.

This should take no longer than 21 working days.

 

If you still think the decision is wrong:

You may be able to ask the court for permission to apply for a Judicial Review of the decision. You will need specialist advice for this. Find an Adviser tool