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Decisions and appeals

Photo: If you had a face-to-face assessment it can take up to four weeks from your assessment for the DWP to reach a decision

This video created by the Department for Work and Pensions explains the disputes process for PIP in BSL. It provides details of the mandatory reconsideration and appeal process for PIP.

You’ll get a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) telling you how many points you scored and if you’ve been awarded PIP or not.

If you had a face-to-face assessment it can take up to four weeks from your assessment for the DWP to reach a decision.

If you haven’t had a decision within eight weeks of sending in the PIP2 form or attending an assessment, you should contact the DWP to find out why there's a delay.

If you are awarded PIP then the letter will tell you when it starts, what rates you’ve got and how long you’ll get it for.

If you haven’t been awarded PIP the letter will explain why. If you disagree with the decision you can ask for the DWP to look at the decision again.

You can ask the DWP to look at your decision again if you:

  • Didn’t get PIP, or
  • Didn’t get as much as you think you should have.

Asking the DWP to look at their decision again is called a mandatory reconsideration (also known as a revision).

If you’re thinking of asking for a mandatory reconsideration you need to do this within a month of getting the decision. You can contact our Helpline for advice.

To ask for a mandatory reconsideration you will need to contact the DWP by phone or letter saying that you feel the decision is wrong and that you would like it to be looked at again. You should do this within one month of the date on the decision letter.

It’s better to ask for a mandatory reconsideration by letter. You should send it by recorded delivery if possible and keep a copy for future reference.

You can send in extra evidence at this stage and the DWP may decide it needs further information too.

If you’ve missed the month deadline you might still be able to ask the DWP to look at the decision again. In some circumstances you can ask for a late mandatory reconsideration (for up to 13 months after the decision has been made), but you will need to have good reasons for missing the deadline. Contact our Helpline to find out more about this.

The mandatory reconsideration decision can increase or decrease your benefit, take it away altogether, or confirm the original decision. So if you've been awarded any level of PIP it's worth getting independent advice before sending in the mandatory reconsideration.

The mandatory reconsideration should take no more than a few weeks.

The DWP doesn’t change many decisions at mandatory reconsideration stage, but don’t let this put you off because you can still appeal - over half of PIP appeals are successful.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the mandatory reconsideration you can appeal to a first-tier tribunal. You must do this within one month of getting the mandatory reconsideration decision from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). However, if more than a month has passed you can still appeal but you will need to explain why it is late so that the judge can decide whether to agree to still hear the appeal.

If you're thinking of appealing a PIP decision it’s a good idea to get advice from these places first:

Benefit appeal Tribunals are not very formal, so legal representation is not usually necessary, but it is a good idea to seek advice and information before taking any further action. It can also be a good idea to get some help from someone that knows you well, such as a parent/carer.

A notice of appeal needs to be sent to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) to tell them that you want a Tribunal to reconsider your case and why you think the DWP decision was wrong. You will also need to send a copy of the letter from the DWP refusing to change the decision (this is called a mandatory reconsideration notice).

You can use the HMCTS notice of appeal form available on its website here.

If you appeal by post you need to send the paperwork to:

  • England and Wales: HMCTS SSCS Appeals Centre, PO Box 1203, Bradford BD1 9WP.
  • Scotland: HMCTS SSCS Appeals Centre, PO Box 27080, Glasgow G2 9HQ.

To make sure your appeal has been received it’s best to send it by recorded delivery. HMCTS will send you an acknowledgement letter.

If you appeal by email you need to send the information to:

HMCTS will send an automated response confirming it has received your email.

Be aware that even though HMCTS allows you to appeal by email, it has the power to insist on a paper copy by post.


You don’t need to give lots of detail about the reason for the appeal, but you must give some explanation of why you disagree with the DWP’s decision. For example, you might think that the DWP hasn't fully considered all of the facts, or that they misunderstood how your deafness affects you.

You can also choose whether to attend the tribunal or have them make a decision by just looking at the papers. There is a higher chance of success if you go to the tribunal because they can ask questions directly about how your deafness impacts you. If you opt for a paper hearing you may not know when it will be looked at and miss out on providing important information to help your case.

When filling in the form make sure you state any access requirements if you need them such as a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter or a hearing loop.

This varies but can take a long time, between four and six months, but sometimes longer, depending on where you live.

No, if you win, benefits are backdated to the date of the original decision.

A few weeks after sending in your appeal the DWP will send you a big bundle of papers called a 'schedule of evidence'. This bundle should contain all the information used to make the original decision and any other evidence you’ve sent in since. When you get the bundle check that all the information you’ve provided is included. If it isn’t, contact the DWP straight away and if you aren’t satisfied you can complain to them.

Go through the bundle and make notes of anything you think is wrong or that the DWP hasn’t understood properly. Remember to take the notes with you to the hearing so that you can tick them off as you go through them.

You should think about getting independent advice at this stage to make sure you understand the reasons why the claim was refused, whether any legal arguments need to be made and what evidence will help your case.

While you’re waiting for your case to be heard you can get more evidence to help you, like letters from professionals. It’s important that any evidence you send is relevant, addresses the reasons why your claim was refused and refers to your needs at the date of the original decision.

If you attended an assessment or an assessor came to your home, that report should be included in the bundle. If the report is inaccurate you should complain to the assessment provider and copy in the DWP (see above). Your complaint will show you’re not accepting the report, and the DWP should then include your complaint and its response with the appeal bundle. However if it is not included, you can submit a copy yourself to the HMCTS as evidence to show that you have done so.

The DWP will often write to professionals who know you to ask for their opinion. It’s important that they ask a professional with an accurate and appropriate understanding of your needs and the impact deafness has on you. If you don’t think that the right professional was contacted then you should explain this to the DWP and tribunal.

It’s worth knowing that the DWP agreed with the National Deaf Children’s Society to stop getting general information from schools for DLA claims. Instead, the DWP should contact a Teacher of the Deaf where possible. If the DWP did ask for general information then you may wish to complain.

Yes, if you have new evidence which supports your case it’s a good idea to send it to the tribunal service as soon as you can. This is because the DWP will look at all of the evidence again before the hearing and could change the decision in your favour without needing a hearing. It also means that the Tribunal has had more time to look at all the evidence if your case still needs to go to a hearing.

Any new evidence you send in must be about your needs up to the date of the original decision, not afterwards. If your health has worsened or your needs have increased since that date you may want to consider reapplying but you should get specialist advice before you do that.

Before the hearing it’s worth putting your case in writing - this is called a written submission. It sets out why you think the decision was wrong and what evidence you have, including a description of how you are affected by your deafness and any other disabilities or health conditions.

You may be able to get help from a benefits adviser or if you have a representative they will write the submission for you. A representative should also inform the tribunal that they’re acting for you so they receive copies of all the information from the DWP.

The written submission should be sent to the tribunal before the hearing so the tribunal and DWP have the opportunity to look at it beforehand.

You can ask the tribunal to postpone your hearing but this will usually only be agreed in exceptional circumstances, such as a medical appointment. If you need more time to get evidence then contact the tribunal service straight away, however they may decide to go ahead with your case based on the evidence in the bundle and by speaking to you on the day.

Yes, if you attend the hearing you can claim expenses for things like travel costs and loss of earnings. However, there are strict rules about how much you can claim so you should check here first.

If you need a taxi to get to the hearing you should phone the clerk (the person who handles the administration of the tribunal) beforehand. You will usually need to get two quotes and may need a doctor’s letter confirming you need to use a taxi.

If you have an appointee then you should usually still attend. This will give you the opportunity to answer questions directly, which usually helps the appeal.

Yes, you’re allowed to bring someone with you for moral support, to represent you, or as a witness. If you bring a friend or family member for moral support, they won’t usually be required to speak. If you have a professional adviser from a charity representing you at the hearing, the tribunal will still want to speak to you.

You can also ask someone to attend as a witness to give evidence based on their experience of how your deafness affects you. A witness could be a care or support worker, family member or friend. You don’t need to tell the tribunal you’ll be bringing a witness, you just need to let the clerk know on the day.

Yes, sometimes hearings are postponed or adjourned, which means they will be heard on a new date. This is often because there isn’t an interpreter available, which is why it’s worth contacting the tribunal a week or two before to make sure all of the arrangements are in place. They may also adjourn to get more evidence. If the tribunal decide to do this themselves it means they will pay for the costs of any reports.

You can still claim expenses and loss of earnings for a postponed or adjourned hearing. The clerk should give you the forms to complete on the day.

Sometimes the tribunal will decide the case in your favour just on the papers – meaning that there’s no need for a hearing.

However, these decisions are made just before the hearing, so you may be told the day before the hearing or when you arrive at the tribunal.

The DWP may also change their decision before the hearing when they review the papers or any new evidence that you send in. If this happens you will receive a letter, although you may get a phone call as well. If the DWP changes its mind and you still aren’t happy you’ll need to appeal again, but get specialist advice before doing this.