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Appeal to the Social Security Tribunal

There is a set process to appeal a benefit decision in relation to your entitlements. Appealing benefits decisions is the correct way to inform the department that you think they made a mistake. Find out how to make an appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. Check what happens at appeal hearings, and what you can do if you lose an appeal.

BEFORE YOU APPEAL: There are several different methods of making an appeal. It will depend on which decision you disagree with.

This guide is for disagreements about welfare benefits. It also covers child maintenance appeal and those made for tax credits.

But, before you make an appeal, you must ask for a decision to get looked at again. This is a process called ‘mandatory reconsideration‘.

As a rule, the reconsideration must take place within one (1) month of any benefit decision. It applies to almost all benefits, child maintenance (child support) and tax credits.

Note: Generally, you must ask for mandatory reconsideration within the time limit to be able to appeal to the tribunal. Use a different process to appeal a benefits decision in Northern Ireland

There is a time limit to make an appeal after getting a mandatory reconsideration decision. In most cases, you should have appealed to the tribunal within one month afterwards.

Appealing a Decision on Housing Benefit

Mandatory reconsideration is not needed if you are appealing a Housing Benefit decision. You should make the appeal to the council that made the original decision instead.

Free Help and Advice

The Citizens Advice can help you appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. Contact them if you need help filling in forms or attending a hearing.

Note: Someone else can appeal on your behalf if you choose. It can be a legal adviser (e.g. a lawyer), a family member, or a friend.

Asking for a Mandatory Reconsideration

You must follow the full social security appeals tribunal process. In most cases that means you must ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

There may be other steps to follow before you appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. The type of decision you are appealing determines the specific procedure.

Note: The Social Security tribunal rules of procedure function independent of government. It will be a court judge listening to both sides of the argument. The judge will then make a final decision.


Appeal to the Tribunal

There are several different forms to choose from when you appeal to the tribunal. It will depend on the type of benefit in question. The section explains:

  • How to submit an appeal (online or by post)
  • How to get help with your appeal
  • How to contact the Benefit Appeals Helpline
At the Hearing

You will need your appeal papers and any documents used as evidence at the hearing. The tribunal may share any evidence you give with all parties. Find out:

  • What happens after submitting an appeal
  • What happens at the hearing and how to claim expenses
  • How long the hearing process takes to complete

Decision at the Tribunal

The Social Security tribunal decision follows the hearing. There are other steps you can take if you still disagree with the tribunal’s decision.

Note: The short video [1:19 seconds] explains what to do if you disagree with a decision given by HM Revenue and Customs (e.g. after a DWP compliance check).

How to Appeal a Benefit Decision in United Kingdom