Challenging a Decision Personal Independence Payment

This section explains how you go about challenging a PIP application decision.
  1. Initial application
  2. Decision    
  3. Request mandatory reconsideration - must be done within one month of receiving decision letter
  4. Mandatory reconsideration notice  
  5. Request appeal - must be done within one month of receiving mandatory reconsideration notice
  6. Independent tribunal hearing

Mandatory reconsideration

If you do not agree with a decision, you can ask the DWP to look at this decision again.

This is the first step in the process and is called ‘mandatory reconsideration’. A mandatory reconsideration request needs to be made within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter.

If you have missed the one-month deadline, it is still possible to ask the DWP for a mandatory reconsideration. You would be expected to demonstrate the reasons for submitting a late request.

However, the DWP can refuse your request if submitted late.

Reasons to ask for a mandatory reconsideration would be:

  •  if you think that the level of benefit you have been awarded is incorrect (an example of this would be that you have been awarded the standard rate for the mobility component and you think you should be receiving the enhanced rate)
  •  if you disagree with the length of the award and feel it should be for a longer period.

Please be aware that the DWP will look at your whole application again.

This could go in your favour, but they also have the right to remove any rate of PIP that you were awarded in the DWP’s initial decision.

Requesting a mandatory reconsideration

You need to write to the address or call the number outlined at the end of your decision letter.

Calling is usually a quicker, more effective approach to get the process underway.

When you call, do the following:

request a mandatory reconsideration of the decision, and explain why you feel the decision is wrong. Keep it simple at this stage. An example of this would be that the decision does not acknowledge the extent of the support you require.

ask them to send you copies of their documents so you can review them. This will include the assessor report.

ask them for a deadline by which you can then send in additional evidence, and tell them they should not proceed with the reconsideration until they have received this evidence.

If you request the mandatory reconsideration in writing, make sure to keep a copy of the letter and proof of postage (sending recorded delivery where possible).

If you request the mandatory reconsideration by phone, take the full name of the person you spoke to and the date and time. We advise also following this up in writing.

You should hear from the DWP within a couple of weeks. If you haven’t, give the them a call.

When you get the reports, they will give you a wider understanding of why a decision has been made. There will normally be two parts to their documents: a copy of your form and the face-to face assessment report.

Once you have both of these in front of you, take a look at them side by side. Read the report in detail and see if any information about your condition has been missed or misunderstood.

Highlight these differences in your letter. Also try to get medical evidence to back up your claims. When you have gathered the evidence, make copies for your records and then send it to the DWP.

You can let the DWP know if you need additional time to collect evidence, especially if you are awaiting medical evidence.

Mathy, who has congenital myopathy, appealed against a PIP decision.

“I was awarded the standard rate of the mobility allowance. This meant I was no long eligible for my adapted Motability car.

“After an appeal, in which I submitted further evidence from my physiotherapist and a letter from MDUK, I was awarded the higher rate of the mobility component of PIP.

“I found the lack of understanding of my condition very difficult. I felt they didn’t refer to the medical letters I had provided. I had also requested they contact my GP and/ or physiotherapist directly. The effects of my condition are persistent and long-term, and as such are not going to change.”

Once all the information has been received, a case manager at the DWP will look at the original decision along with any new evidence. A decision will be made based on this.

The DWP will then write to you informing you of the outcome.

This letter is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’. Keep this letter in a safe place, as you will need it if you choose to appeal to a tribunal.

Independent tribunal

You must have been through the mandatory reconsideration process before you can appeal to an independent tribunal.

If you feel the mandatory reconsideration decision is incorrect, the next stage is to take the case to an independent tribunal.

An appeal needs to be made within one calendar month of the date on the mandatory reconsideration decision letter.

If you have missed the one-month deadline, it is still possible to appeal the DWP’s decision.

The tribunal service will review your appeal submission and make a decision on whether your appeal can go ahead. You would be expected to demonstrate the reasons for submitting a late request.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) review appeals. This service is independent of the DWP. Any information must be submitted directly to the HMCTS.

Details will be on your mandatory reconsideration notice.