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What if you disagree with the DWP decision?

If you have been turned down for ESA or put in the Work Related Activity Group rather than Support Group, and you don't think this is the right decision, then you can ask for the decision to be reviewed, this is called a Mandatory Reconsideration and you must request this within a month of receiving the decision letter.  

The decision letter should outline the reasons for the DWP's decision.  Generally, as part of the Mandatory Reconsideration it's a good idea to provide more detail about the specific points the letter raises and to, where possible, provide more medical evidence.  However, if you feel the decision is wrong you can ask the DWP to reconsider it without any further details or evidence.

The DWP will send you a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice with their decision; if the decision isn't overturned then you can appeal to an independent tribunal (Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service), this should generally be done within a month of the date on the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice although late appeals can sometimes be accepted.

Appeals for ESA can be made on appeal form SSCS1 []and when you return the form you must include a copy of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.  The SSCS1 asks if you want a decision to be made without a face to face hearing; generally it is better to ask for a hearing.  

HMCTS will send a copy of your appeal to the DWP, the DWP will reply to HMCTS, within 28 days, and include copies of all documentation relevant to the decision.  The DWP will also send copies of these to you (or your representative if you have chosen one).  

It is a good idea generally to get some advice about your appeal and even to attend the appeal with you to provide support.  

It's really important to give as much detail as possible about why and how the decision is wrong.  If you are happy with part of the DWP's decision then you should make it clear which part you would like reviewed.  

Make sure you have as much evidence, medical or otherwise, as possible.  But you need to remember that the tribunal can only consider your circumstances up to the date of the decision you are appealing.  When obtaining evidence make sure that it deals with the issues that are being disputed; for example if you think you can only walk a certain distance then you need to ask your GP for an opinion on this.

You should be given at least 14 days' notice of the time and place of the hearing, although generally you will get more notice than this and, if the date is not convenient you can ask for it to be rearranged.  

The tribunal consists of a judge and a doctor; it is quite informal and you needn't feel intimidated in any way.  

There is no set procedure for how the tribunal will run.  If there is a DWP representative present (a presenting officer) then often the judge will ask them to present the DWP's case first.  Often you will be asked to talk about what you do on an average day.  At some point in the hearing you will be asked to explain your case and it's a good idea to have written down the points you want to make in advance.

You will get a decision on the day of the hearing or shortly afterwards.