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Last updated:
21/11/2017

How can I appeal a decision about my benefits?

Setting out your argument in writing

  1. Overview
  2. The appeals process
  3. Preparing your appeal
  4. Setting out your argument in writing
  5. Making arrangements for the tribunal
  6. Going to the hearing
  7. Tips for representing yourself
  8. Can I appeal against my council tax support or housing benefit decision?
  9. Next steps

You can set out your arguments for the tribunal in writing. This is called a ‘submission’. You do not have to do this, but it can help the people involved in your tribunal to focus on the matters that are important to you. You can simply go to the tribunal hearing and give your evidence orally instead of writing a submission.

To be successful at your hearing you need to show the tribunal that you meet the criteria for the benefit. By explaining in writing how you meet the criteria, you can make your situation clearer than if you only explained in person.

Try to avoid criticising the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the service that assessed you. You should stick to facts, keep things neutral, and explain why the decision is wrong.

When writing your submission, do not feel that you have to complete it in one go. Splitting the submission into different issues and focusing on one at a time can help.

When writing your submission, do not feel that you have to complete it in one go. Splitting the submission into different issues and focusing on one at a time can help.

The tribunal panel will only look at evidence and examples about your condition at the time the decision about your benefit was made. For example, if the DWP made their decision in December 2016 and your hearing is in May 2017, the tribunal can only think about how your health affected you in December 2016. If your illness has got better or worse since then, try to think about how it was at that time.

Tips for writing your submission

Top tips:

  • Look at the criteria for the benefit you are applying for,
  • Explain what you disagree with the DWP’s/ LA’s decision and why,
  • Split up your submission so that it deals with each of your points one-by-one,
  • Point out supporting evidence that backs up your argument, and
  • Write in plain, simple English and don’t use legal jargon. It should be clear and make sense.

Always send your submission to the tribunal service before the hearing.

If you decide not to make written submissions, try to make notes before the appeal hearing and take them with you so that you remember everything you want to say. It can be easy to forget something important because of the stress of a hearing.

 

Example- Joe's Story

The DWP awarded me 0 points for my awareness of hazards or danger. I was assessed as not needing supervision to keep myself safe. This is not true, and I believe I should have been awarded 15 points.

I need supervision to keep myself safe the majority of the time. I needed this supervision at the time when the original DWP decision was made, and I still need it now. For example, I always need to be supervised when taking my medication. I take the wrong amounts if I am not supervised. This is confirmed in a letter from my GP, Dr Roberts, dated 12th April 2013, which I have stapled to my submission.

In the letter Dr Roberts confirms that I need someone with me when I take medication. The statement by my partner Ms Jane Smith, dated 10th April 2013, confirms that she has to supervise me when I take medication every morning and evening. I have stapled this to my submission.

This is why I believe that I should have been awarded 15 points when assessed on my awareness of hazards or danger.

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Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. The appeals process
  3. Preparing your appeal
  4. Setting out your argument in writing
  5. Making arrangements for the tribunal
  6. Going to the hearing
  7. Tips for representing yourself
  8. Can I appeal against my council tax support or housing benefit decision?
  9. Next steps
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