What is mandatory reconsideration?
When the Social Security Agency (SSA) makes a decision about your benefit, they will write to you. If you don't agree with their decision you have one month to ask them to reconsider it. You have to ask the SSA to reconsider their decision before you can appeal at a tribunal. This is called a 'mandatory reconsideration'.
You can ask for a mandatory reconsideration for decisions about all SSA benefits including:
- Personal Independence Payments (PIP),
- Universal Credit (UC),
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA),
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and
- Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).
You can read more about challenging a NI Housing Executive and Land and Property Services decision in our appeals page - this relates to housing benefit and Rate Relief applications.
How do I ask for a mandatory reconsideration?
To ask for a mandatory reconsideration, you can call or write to the SSA office that made your decision (the details should be on the letter they sent to you). If you write to them, keep a copy and send it by recorded delivery or get proof of postage, as this can help you to make sure they receive it in the one-month time limit.
In your letter - or over the phone - you can explain why you think the SSA have made the wrong decision and you can send more medical evidence to back up your argument.
It is usually better to write to the SSA rather than ring because you can keep a copy of your letter. If you are near the deadline though it might be better to call the SSA but then follow it up in a letter.
Tax Credit Mandatory Reconsideration
To request a mandatory reconsideration for tax credits you need to fill in a form called a WTC/AP. Or you can make the request on-line.
Call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 to get a copy of the form.
Child Benefit Mandatory Reconsideration
To request a mandatory reconsideration for child benefit you need to fill in a form called a CH24A or you can call the Child Benefit Helpline on 0300 200 3100.
Can I ask the SSA for written reasons for their decision?
You can ask the SSA for written reasons for their decision, but you don't have to. If you would like reasons, ask as soon as possible and the SSA should send them to you in 14 days; asking for their reasons may help you put forward your argument.
If you ask for reasons, you will have an extra 14 days to ask for a mandatory reconsideration, and additionally, if the SSA don't send the written reasons within a month after their decision, you have 14 days from the date you receive them to ask for mandatory reconsideration.
What happens during Mandatory Reconsideration?
Someone from the SSA will look at your claim again to see if the decision was right. This person is called the 'decision maker - they will not have seen your claim before, so they may phone you to ask why you disagree with the decision. You should explain why and give them more information and evidence. If you don't feel you can talk to them, you could ask them if your carer could talk to them for you and you might be able to arrange another time when they can talk to you and your carer together.
Can I send more evidence?
Yes, you can send more evidence and if you would like to, make sure it gets to the SSA within the one-month deadline. Ask someone at the SSA where to send it and you can also ask him or her not to make any new decision until they have seen your evidence.
If the decision maker calls you, they may ask you if you have any other medical evidence to support your claim. If you do have more evidence, they will tell you where you should send it and they will give you one month to send them the evidence - they should agree not make a decision until they have seen the evidence.
If they don't get the evidence in one month, they will make a decision based on the information they have. The SSA do not have to make their decision in a certain time and this can take a few weeks or a few months.
You can find a sample letter at the end of this section - this could help you to ask your healthcare professionals for evidence to support you.
What happens when they make a decision?
The decision maker will send you two copies of a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice - this explains what their decision is, so you need to keep these safe and you will need them if you want to appeal to a tribunal.
If the Social Security Agency change their decision in your favour, they will pay you the benefits you should have been paid from the date of your claim. This is called 'backdating'.
If the Social Security Agency change their decision in your favour, they will pay you the benefits you should have been paid from the date of your claim. This is called ‘backdating’.
The Social Security Agency may not change their decision. If you still disagree with them, you can appeal the decision to the Social Security Tribunal, through the Appeals Service (TAS).