PIP decisions from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) can be challenged under mandatory reconsideration rules which force the Government to review the choices made. This can also be utilised across a range of benefits including Universal Credit or child maintenance.
According to analysis from Citizens Advice, it may be worth challenging a decision even if one is unsure of their case, as the latest Government statistics showed more than half of PIP decisions are changed after mandatory reconsideration or an appeal to a tribunal.
Additionally, there are no costs involved with an appeal.
Citizens Advice also provided guidance on the best way to launch a mandatory reconsideration challenge: “The best way to apply for a reconsideration is to use the CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form on GOV.UK, or write a letter to the DWP explaining why you disagree with the decision.
“You can call the DWP to ask for a reconsideration, but it’s better to have everything in writing. If you decide to call, make sure you follow up with a letter. The contact details will be on the decision letter from DWP.”
Citizens Advice went on to cover exactly what should be included in these letters: “You need to give specific reasons why you disagree with the decision.
“Use your decision letter, statement of reasons and medical assessment report to make a note of each of the statements you disagree with and why.
“Give facts, examples and medical evidence (if available) to support what you’re saying.”
While challenges must be made within a month, the DWP doesn’t have to reply within a specific timescale, meaning claimants may have to wait months for a result.
However, claimants will receive a “mandatory reconsideration notice” following a challenge and they’ll be sent two copies, as one will be needed to be sent off if they take their appeal further.
Citizens Advice concluded on what should be expected: “If the DWP changes their decision, you’ll start getting your PIP payment straight away.
“Your payment for PIP will start from the date of the original decision. If you’re challenging the rate you’ve been put on and the DWP changes the decision, they’ll pay you the difference for the time it takes them to make the decision.
“Don’t be put off if they don’t change the decision, not many decisions are overturned at this stage. More decisions are changed after the second stage of the challenge – if your mandatory reconsideration is turned down you can appeal to a tribunal.”