Challenging Department for Work and Pensions benefit decisions - Appeal against the decision

If you think a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit decision is wrong, you may be able to get it changed.

Last reviewed 04 April 2022

Appeal against the decision

An appeal is a way of telling the benefit office that you think a decision is wrong.

When you appeal a decision, it will be looked at by an independent tribunal, which is completely separate from the benefit office. You must ask for a of the decision before you can make an appeal.  We have more information on on the 'Have the decision looked at' page of this guide.

How do I appeal?

You must make your appeal in writing.

You must have asked for the decision to be looked at again and received the first.

If you appeal on the official appeal form, this can help you to give all the information that is needed.

These leaflets tell you how to start your appeal:

Download a copy of the appeal form:

Pick up a copy of the appeal form from your local Jobcentre or Write to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (see address below). 

If you can't get hold of the official appeal form, make sure you include the following details in your letter:

  • Your name and contact address

  • Your

  • A copy of the

  • Why you think the decision is wrong

  • Your signature.

If you don't include all these details your appeal form may have to be returned to you.

If you have lost the you can ask for a copy to be sent to you, you will have to do this before you can appeal. If this causes a delay in sending in your appeal request, you will need to explain the reasons for the delay - see information about late appeals below.

Send your appeal to:

England and Wales: HMCTS Benefit Appeals, PO Box 12626, Harlow, CM20 9QF

Scotland: HMCTS SSCS Appeals Centre, PO Box 13150, Harlow, CM20 9TT

Northern Ireland: The Appeals Service, PO Box 2202, Belfast, BT1 9YJ

Time limit

You have one calendar month from the date on the to make your appeal.

Late appeal

If you missed the appeal deadline for reasons out of your control, such as illness or bereavement, you may be given more time to appeal.

There is a section on the appeal form where you can give your reasons for it being late.

If the benefit office doesn’t think you have a good reason for appealing late, they will pass your request to the Tribunal Service who will decide if your appeal can be accepted or if it is too late to be heard.

An appeal can’t be accepted if it is over one year and 30 days since the date of the decision.

Possible outcomes

Look again at the decision

If they haven’t already, a different decision maker will look at the decision and decide whether it should be changed.

If they decide that they can’t change the original decision, your appeal will carry on.

If they decide that the original decision is wrong, they will change the decision and send you a new decision letter:

If the new decision makes you better off your appeal will stop. You can appeal this new decision if you think it is wrong

If the new decision does not make you better off, your appeal will carry on, but now it will be against the new decision.

Send appeal on to Tribunal Service.

If your appeal carries on, your appeal form will be sent to HM Courts and Tribunals Service, who run the First Tier Tribunal. The benefit office will also include their response.

This explains:

  • How they came to their decision

  • What information they used

  • What benefit law they based their decision on.

The First Tier Tribunal

The First Tier Tribunal will decide if you are legally entitled to a benefit and can change a decision if they think it is wrong.

The tribunal could make a decision that leaves you worse off so it is often best to seek advice before deciding whether to appeal.

The tribunal cannot:

  • Change the law

  • Deal with administrative complaints, like delay or poor service (see Complaints about your claim)

  • Consider changes of circumstances which have taken place since the decision was made - you may be able to make a new benefit or tax credit claim.

For information about what happens when your appeal is received by the Tribunal Service (England, Scotland and Wales), or Appeals Service (Northern Ireland), see Turn2us information on First Tier Tribunal Appeals.

Updated: April 2022


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