Before you can appeal to a benefit tribunal, you’ll need to try and resolve your dispute with the DWP.
Introduction – What is changing
The appeals process is changing in 2013 so that more disputes against DWP
decisions can be resolved without the need for referral to Her Majesty’s Courts and
Tribunals Service (HMCTS). DWP is committed to preventing disputes, reducing the
escalation of disputes, resolving disputes and learning from disputes. From April
2013 DWP began to introduce changes which were part of the Welfare Reform Act
What are the changes?
DWP will reconsider all decisions before an appeal. This change will mean that if
someone disputes a decision, they will need to ask DWP to reconsider the decision
before they can appeal to HMCTS. This is known as “mandatory reconsideration”.
The change aims to encourage people to provide additional evidence earlier in the
process. Resolving disputes without the need for an appeal should also help ensure
that people receive the right decision earlier in the process.
There is no time limit to how long this can take and no payments while it happens.
Appeals to be made directly to HMCTS. This change will mean that, after DWP has
reconsidered a decision, if someone still disputes the decision and wishes to appeal,
they must send their appeal directly to HMCTS. This is known as “direct
lodgement”. It will bring the process for Social Security and child maintenance
appeals into line with other major tribunal jurisdictions handled by HMCTS.
Time limits for DWP to return responses to HMCTS. DWP has agreed with the
Tribunal Procedure Committee to introduce time limits to stipulate how long DWP has
to respond to an individual appeal. Their introduction will mean that DWP will have 28
calendar days to provide an appeal response in benefits cases, and 42 calendar
days in child maintenance cases.
When will these changes be introduced?
DWP introduced all three changes for Personal Independence Payment and
Universal Credit in April 2013.
The changes will be introduced for all other DWP-administered benefits and child
maintenance cases from 28 Octobhttp://images.proboards.com/v5/images/bbcode/bold.pnger 2013, and DWP will begin to report against the
time limits from October 2014.
More information about Appeals Reform is available at www.gov.uk.
Background – The case for change
Why is mandatory reconsideration being introduced?
DWP say the main reasons for introducing mandatory reconsideration are to:
• resolve disputes as early as possible;
• reduce unnecessary demand on HMCTS by resolving more disputes internally;
• consider revising a decision where appropriate;
• provide a full explanation of the decision; and
• encourage claimants to identify and provide any additional evidence that may affect
the decision, so that they receive a correct decision at the earliest opportunity.
Mandatory reconsideration allows them to look again at their decisions again.
The mandatory reconsideration process will involve an outbound call from decision
makers, to talk through disputed decisions with claimants and invite them to provide
any additional evidence at the earliest opportunity. Then, where appropriate, they can
change their decision at the earliest possible point rather than having to go through a
long and costly appeals process.
Why is direct lodgement being introduced?
The main reasons for introducing direct lodgement are to:
• align the appeals process for Social Security and child maintenance appeals with
other major jurisdictions handled by HMCTS;
• make sure that DWP is no longer involved in the administration of appeals, and can
focus on its key role as a party to appeals; and
• speed up and clarify the appeals process.
The current process, where people submit their appeal to DWP and it then transfers
to HMCTS, can cause delays in arranging tribunals, and confusion for people who
may not realise which organisation is responsible for their appeal at any given point.
Why are time limits being introduced?
The aim of time limits is to improve customer service by giving people a timeframe
within which they can expect DWP to provide the response to an individual appeal.
In addition, the change will bring DWP into line with other departments that are
already subject to time limits when submitting appeal responses to HMCTS.