Appeal the Decision
Challenging a Decision
Explanation and Reconsideration
If you have made a claim for a social security benefit or a state pension and you disagree with a decision we have made in relation to your claim, you should contact us straightaway and ask for an explanation.
You can also ask us to send you a written statement of reasons for the decision. You have up to one month from the date we told you about the decision to ask for a written statement of reasons. We will send you a statement within 14 days of your request.
You can also ask us to look at the decision on your claim again – this is called a 'reconsideration'. Normally, you have up to one month (plus an additional 14 days if you ask us for a written statement of reasons) from the date we told you about the decision to ask for a reconsideration. In most cases a different officer to the one who made the original decision will look at your claim again and if they decide the original decision was wrong they will change it and tell you about the new revised decision. If they decide the original decision can’t be changed they will tell you that and advise you of your right of appeal if you remain dissatisfied with the decision.
Appeal to the tribunal
You can make an appeal to the independent social security appeals tribunal if you are dissatisfied with a decision relating to your claim. But you must first ask for the decision on your claim to be reconsidered before you can appeal against it – see above.
You must normally make your appeal within one month of being told of the outcome of the reconsideration.
The appeals tribunal is made up of people who don’t work for the Treasury. It is chaired by an advocate or barrister and there are usually two other “lay” members. It may also include a doctor or disability expert, depending on what type of benefit you’ve claimed.
The tribunal will look at the evidence, the law and the circumstances at the time we made our decision. The tribunal cannot consider any changes in your circumstances since we made our decision. The tribunal cannot change the law or do anything that the law doesn’t allow.
You may be able to get free legal representation at the appeal by an articled clerk to a law firm.
For more information call the Tribunals Service on +44 1624 685023.
Social Security Commissioner
If you're not satisfied with the decision of the tribunal you may be able to appeal to the Social Security Commissioner. The Social Security Commissioner is usually the High Bailiff or Deputy High Bailiff.
But you can only appeal to the Social Security Commissioner on a point of law, rather than facts or medical findings.
For more information download leaflet GL24.