If your claim for a benefit is turned down or you disagree with a decision about your benefit award, you can ask for that decision to be looked at again. This called a revision or reconsideration.
You should receive confirmation of most decisions in writing and the date on the letter is the date of the decision. You normally have one month from the date the decision is made to ask for a revision. You can ask for a revision over the phone, in person or in writing.
It is helpful to ask for the reasons why a decision was made and to ask for copies of any evidence used when making the decision. The one month limit can be extended by two weeks if you have asked for a statement of reasons explaining why the decision was made.
A Decision Maker will look at the benefit and the decision and decide whether they can change it. This may take up to 3 months, depending on the benefit and the decision.
It is important to send further evidence to support your revision. If there is no new evidence the Decision Maker is less likely to change the decision. Where possible you should explain why you think the decision is wrong. You should also send further medical evidence if your claim is for a Disability or Sickness benefit.
Appealing a decision
If the decision maker is unable to change the decision you have one month from their notification to request an appeal.
The appeal request must be in writing. You can write a letter but it is easier to use a specific appeal form.
For benefits administered by the DWP use the GL24 form (the last four pages of the 'If you think our decision is wrong' leaflet).
For benefits administered by HM Revenue and Customs use the WTC/AP form (called the 'Appeals against Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit decisions' leaflet).
For Housing and Council Tax Benefit you must appeal to your local district/borough council.
Upper or Second Tier Tribunals
If your tribunal is not successful or you disagree with the decision made, it is possible to challenge the decision in certain circumstances. This is called appealing to the Upper (Second Tier) Tribunal.
You cannot challenge the decision simply because you disagree with it, there has to have been an Error of Law. This means that the tribunal did not follow the correct procedures or did not apply the law or regulations correctly. It might be that they did not give you the opportunity to say everything you wanted to or that the tribunal cannot legally justify their decision.
There are strict time limits for appealing to an Upper (Second Tier) Tribunal and it is vital that you seek support with the process. It is important that you contact your local advice agency straight away for help.