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How to challenge a Universal Credit decision

If you don't agree with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision about your Universal Credit claim, you can challenge their decision - called a mandatory reconsideration. We explain how to challenge a Universal Credit decision.

What is a mandatory reconsideration for Universal Credit

A mandatory reconsideration is the first step of challenging a Universal Credit decision. It is asking the DWP to look at their decision again.

You should challenge any Universal Credit decision you believe is incorrect. You can ask for a mandatory reconsideration for the following reasons:

You will typically have to ask for a mandatory reconsideration within one month of any Universal Credit decision you're challenging.

How to ask for a mandatory reconsideration for Universal Credit

There are four ways to ask the DWP for a mandatory reconsideration:

  • Write a message in your online Universal Credit account.
  • Write a letter (send it to the address on the decision letter).
  • If you send in a letter, make sure you keep a copy and send it by recorded delivery so you can prove you sent the letter in time.
  • Fill out a CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration form.
  • Call the DWP if you're close to the deadline.

You will need to include the following information when you ask for a Universal Credit mandatory reconsideration:

  • The date of the original decision.
  • The specific reasons you disagree with the DWP's decision.
  • Your name, address and National Insurance number.
  • Any supporting evidence you have to back up your reasons for disagreeing with the decision.

What to do if you have missed your mandatory reconsideration deadline

You are expected to have asked for a mandatory reconsideration within one month of the decision date.

However, you may be able to ask for a mandatory reconsideration after the one month deadline if:

  • You have a good reason for the delay.
  • You asked for a mandatory reconsideration as soon as possible, and the decision date was less than 13 months ago.

Examples of a good reason for being late:

  • Your partner or relative has been ill.
  • You have been mentally or physically unwell.
  • You have had problems receiving post at your address.

You will need to contact the DWP through your Universal Credit online account, by letter or over the phone to explain why you have missed your mandatory reconsideration deadline.

The DWP can still refuse your application if it's late, but if you applied within 13 months of the date on your decision letter, you could appeal their decision at a tribunal.

Getting a mandatory reconsideration decision

There is no deadline to receiving your mandatory reconsideration decision – this is called a mandatory reconsideration notice – so it can take several months.

The DWP will send you two copies of a mandatory reconsideration notice which explains what their decision is - you will need one copy if you want to appeal to a tribunal.

If the DWP don't change their decision, you can continue with your appeal through a tribunal.

What happens if your Universal Credit mandatory reconsideration is successful?

If your Universal Credit was stopped during the reconsideration period, you should receive a backdated Universal Credit payment. The DWP may want to pay the backdated amount in instalments instead of a lump sum. They can only do this if they believe it is in your best interest and you agree with their decision to pay you the sum in instalments. The same rules apply if your Universal Credit is a joint claim with another person (e.g. partner, family member)

For more information and help you should seek advice from a welfare and benefits adviser.

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