Skip to content

Challenging a PIP decision

If you’ve not been awarded PIP, didn’t get the rate you expected or you think your award isn’t long enough, you can challenge the decision.

Note that if you’re challenging the amount or length of the award, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) may look at your claim again and decide that you shouldn’t get PIP.

Challenging a decision about benefits or tax credits is called mandatory reconsideration.

Understanding the decision

Before you challenge the decision, it’s important that you understand how the DWP came to their decision. You can call them to discuss their decision or ask for an explanation in writing. This is known as a ‘written statement of reasons’.

The ‘written statement of reasons’ will normally include a copy of your form and your face-to-face assessment report.

Read these in detail to see if any information about your condition has been missed or misunderstood. If you believe the decision is incorrect, you’ll need to highlight the differences and include any medical evidence to back up your claim.

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

When you have the evidence, make copies for your records and post it to the DWP. You’ll need to send it within 14 days (unless you’ve been given an extension).

Apply for mandatory reconsideration

If you choose to appeal the decision without a ‘written statement of reasons’, apply for a mandatory reconsideration by downloading the CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form on GOV.UK.

You’ll need to print and fill out the form and post it to the DWP within one calendar month of the date on your decision letter.

If you’d prefer, you can call the DWP. It’s advisable to follow everything up in writing and take down the name of the person you spoke to.

If you have missed the one-month deadline it is still possible to ask the DWP for a mandatory reconsideration, but you’ll need to explain your reasons for being late.

The DWP can refuse your request if submitted late, however if it’s within 13 months of the decision you can appeal the decision at a tribunal.

Challenging the decision

If you feel that the mandatory reconsideration decision is incorrect, you can take your case to an independent tribunal.

An appeal needs to be made within one calendar month of the date on the mandatory reconsideration decision letter (called a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice).

The tribunal service will review your appeal submission and decide on whether your appeal can go ahead.

His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) reviews appeals. This service is independent of the DWP. Any information must be submitted directly to the HMCTS, details of which will be on your mandatory reconsideration notice.

Requesting a tribunal

Start your appeal by downloading a copy of the SSCS1 appeal on GOV.UK and then posting it to HMCTS. If you live in Northern Ireland, you will need to download the NOA1(SS) form on NIdirect.

If you prefer, you can submit an appeal online at GOV.UK.

You will need your:

  • Contact information
  • National Insurance number
  • Mandatory reconsideration notice

Explain the reasons why you’re appealing. This is the most important part of the form and is the basis of how your appeal will be reassessed. Explain in your own words why you feel the decision is wrong and link back to any medical evidence you have provided to the DWP.

For example: ‘the report stated I could chop vegetables, but my consultant letter stated that I have a very weak grip and I’m unable to hold a knife safely’.

It’s best to request a tribunal in person. This is called an oral hearing. It may sound daunting, but you can bring someone with you for moral support. Or you can bring along a representative to speak on your behalf, about your condition. Having an oral hearing gives you more opportunities to put the facts of your case forward.

Once your online form has been submitted, or your postal form received along with the mandatory reconsideration notice, HMCTS will check the form and ask the DWP for their response within 28 days.

The HMCTS will then send you:

  • A copy of the DWP’s response
  • Information about the next steps
  • Details of the hearing (if you’ve requested an oral hearing)
Waiting for the hearing

It can take some time to have your appeal heard. We know this wait can be stressful for many people.

The length of time depends on where you live and how busy your local service is.

Let HMCTS know of any upcoming appointments or holidays you have booked. It can be quite time-consuming to get an appeal date moved so it’s best to avoid this.

While you’re waiting for your hearing date, think about anyone who could provide additional evidence. You can submit evidence up until two weeks before the hearing date.

What happens at an oral tribunal hearing

Attending an independent tribunal is not like attending a formal court. The venue should be accessible, and the clerk of the court will be there to assist you and explain what will happen.

If you need support from a carer or family member, they can also attend the tribunal hearing. Make sure that you arrive promptly and allow additional time to pass through security.

You can bring notes to help you remember everything that you want to put across.

The tribunal panel is usually made up of three independent people – usually a person with a medical background and a lay person who has some experience of disability.

A solicitor will lead the tribunal.

The DWP can send a presenting officer to put forward their position and challenge the points that you have made in the appeal document. This is standard practice and is not anything to worry about.

The panel will then ask a series of questions based on what you have put on your form and any additional supporting information you have provided them with.

Take your time and don’t feel rushed – this is your chance to explain to them how your condition affects you.

If a DWP presenting officer is there, they will have an opportunity to ask you a few questions. If you have chosen to have a representative, they will also have an opportunity to raise anything they feel may have been missed and challenge any points made by the DWP.

Receiving a decision

Once you have made your case and answered questions, you’ll be asked to leave the room. The tribunal panel will discuss your case and you’ll either be informed immediately of their decision or very soon after your hearing. You’ll receive a copy of the decision notice and a copy will be sent to the DWP.

If successful, then the DWP will make the necessary changes and you will start to receive your award. Within a few weeks of the decision being changed, you will also receive any back payment from the date you made the claim.

If you lose your appeal, you will be sent a guide that will explain your options.

We’re here to support you

Our support services

Webinars, Information Days, and support groups for our muscle wasting community. Our life-changing support is here for you.

Call our helpline

Advice for living with or caring for someone with a muscle wasting condition.

Stay connected with our community

Get the latest news, inspiring stories, upcoming events, and valuable support services delivered straight to your inbox.