If you do not agree with a benefit decision, you first have to ask the benefit authority to reconsider its decision. The DWP calls this a “mandatory reconsideration”.
When do I ask for a “mandatory reconsideration”?
If you don’t agree with a decision made about Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA), you’ll go through a process called ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you can appeal to a tribunal.
You’ll also need to go through mandatory reconsideration for decisions about Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Once you receive the DWP’s initial decision, you have one month to tell them you don’t agree and ask for a mandatory reconsideration. Contact our Welfare Rights Assistant, Leigh Marinelli, if you feel you need assistance at this point. Once the mandatory reconsideration has been submitted, a person from the DWP who has not looked at your claim will review the decision and call you to talk you through it. Your request can be by telephone or in writing, but it is always better to do it in writing if you can.
You can explain why you don’t agree, and give more information and evidence, which can also be supplied by any professional who cares for you or by our Welfare Rights Assistant.
You must wait for a decision about the mandatory reconsideration before you can appeal to a tribunal. You will normally receive a letter advising your of the decision, called a “mandatory reconsideration notice”. Your appeal has to be lodged within one month of the date that the mandatory reconsideration notice was sent to you.
Appealing an ESA decision
If you have claimed for ESA, and the DWP found you ‘fit for work’, you will not receive any payments of ESA while going through mandatory reconsideration. If more evidence is needed, this process could last several weeks - there is no limit to how long it could last.
During this period you can claim JSA until the mandatory reconsideration decision is received.
You will have to sign a claimant commitment to claim JSA but this should take account of your health problems. If you do not carry out any aspect of your claimant commitment youre benefit can be sanctioned. See section on sanctions for more information.
If you do claim JSA while waiting for a mandatory reconsideration decision, you should still continue to visit your doctor for medical certificates. If you receive this decision and ESA is still not awarded then you can appeal to an independent tribunal. If you do appeal, you will receive ESA at the assessment rate until the tribunal is heard.