The Department for Work and Pensions Minister, Mims Davies MP, recently announced that the average time taken to address challenges made by people regarding their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been reduced to 39 days. The Minister highlighted that the reduced clearance times are a result of improved processes and increased decision-making capacity.

In a debate last month, the Minister responded to Jessica Morden’s question on what is being done by the DWP to trim the Mandatory Reconsideration decision-making timeframe. According to the Davies, the resolution times have decreased from 79 days in 2021 to 36 days in October 2023 thanks to the enhanced processes and decision-making capacity. She further added, we will persistently strive to augment efficiency while upholding effective decision making for all reconsiderations.

The recent statistics reveal that during the 2022/23 fiscal year, approximately 5,300 individuals successfully contested the initial PIP payment decision of the DWP.

Out of these, around 1,500 claimants have also been granted at least one amplified payment rate of either the daily living or mobility component of the disability benefit subjected to the Mandatory Reconsideration process.

Nearly 28 per cent of the individuals awarded PIP at the Mandatory Reconsideration stage, post an initial decision of non-award of PIP, received at least one enhanced component.

At present, a claim for PIP or the Adult Disability Payment (ADP) – for people residing in Glasgow – can provide an additional financial support of between £26.90 and £172.75 every week. Since the benefit is paid every four weeks, this ranges between £107.60 and £691.00 per payment period. Once the annual uprating is applied from April 8, payments can amount to nearly £737 every four weeks.

The 6.7 per cent increase implies that current claimants and people initiating a new claim for PIP or ADP may be eligible for up to £9,583.60 throughout the 2024/25 fiscal year.

If you have made a PIP claim and disagree with the award decision, it is possible to contest it. This may involve requesting the decision to be reconsidered (Mandatory Reconsideration), lodging an appeal or taking it to a tribunal.

If you need clear guidance on challenging benefit decisions, you can find it on GOV.UK here.

Understanding the PIP Decision

If the decision stated in your letter is not clear, seek an explanation from the DWP by contacting them using the information mentioned at the top right corner of the decision letter.

If you are unsure whether the decision is accurate, perform the PIP self-test on the Benefits and Work website here.

This mock test seeks all the questions plus the points allocated for each response and will assist you in understanding:

  • Whether you qualify to receive PIP for each component (daily living and mobility)

  • Whether you are entitled to the standard or higher rate for each component

Request Mandatory Reconsideration

A Mandatory Reconsideration refers to a review of their decision by the DWP to decide its potential modification.

The most suitable way to request Mandatory Reconsideration is to write to the DWP at the address mentioned in your decision letter. Normally, you have a month from the date you receive your decision letter to request Mandatory Reconsideration.

Obtain a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

After reevaluating the decision, the DWP will issue you a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice. This notice will inform you whether the decision remains unchanged or has been altered.

Appeal to Tribunal

If no change is made to the DWP decision when you request reconsideration, you have the option to appeal to an independent panel known as a tribunal.

The tribunal assesses the evidence from both parties and renders the final decision. It is part of the court system and is not associated with the DWP.

When you can Appeal to a Tribunal

You are eligible to appeal any decision made about your PIP claim. Some common reasons to appeal are:

  • you did not receive PIP

  • you received a lower PIP level than you expected

  • you believe your PIP award should be extended

The appeal will consider whether the decision was justified at the time of its execution. It will not take into account if your condition has worsened since then.

You can seek counsel from your local Citizens Advice, welfare support team at your local council or online at Benefits and Work.

Requirements to Appeal to a Tribunal:

  • Your letter from the DWP must include the words ‘Mandatory Reconsideration Notice’ at the top- In case you lose it, request a new one from them

  • Send your appeal form within a month from the date mentioned on the mandatory reconsideration notice

However, Citizens Advice advises that the tribunal process can be time-consuming. A statement on their website mentions, “The process can be draining but it’s worth remembering that more than half of the people who appeal their PIP decision win at a tribunal. If you feel the decision is incorrect, don’t hesitate to appeal.”

Completing the Appeal Form

You have two options to appeal:

  • fill in the appeal form, named SSCS1 – Obtain a copy of the SSCS1 and check the guidance notes for the SSCS1 on

  • challenge the decision online on

Ensure you complete the entire appeal form to avoid potential rejection.

Illustrating your Reason for Appeal

The most crucial aspect of the application is the ‘Grounds for appeal’. If you are filling out the SSCS1 form, this is Section 5. You need to specifically explain your reasons for disagreeing with the DWP decision.

Use your decision letter, statement of reasons, and medical assessment report to highlight each of the statements you disagree with and why. Present facts, examples, and medical evidence (if available) to back up your statements.

You may have already done this for your Mandatory Reconsideration Letter. If so, you can reuse the same examples and pieces of evidence.

You are allowed to include additional information on a separate sheet if you prefer. Just mention ‘See enclosed information’ in the box and securely attach any papers to the form.

Tribunals have the authority to reevaluate your entire award. Therefore, consider if you risk losing your current award – for instance, if you have evidence to justify a daily living component but potentially lose your mobility award due to improved mobility.

If you are uncertain, get advice from your nearest Citizens Advice or your local council’s support team.

Obtaining Help with your Appeal

You can get support with your appeal from your local Citizens Advice, or a local disability support agency or group. You might be able to get someone like an advisor or a solicitor to act as your representative during the appeal, but availability is not guaranteed.

A representative can assist you with the paperwork and might represent you. However, don’t be concerned if you don’t have a representative- the tribunal board is most interested in understanding how your condition affects you in your own words. Assistance from a friend or family member can be really helpful, and you can proceed without a professional.

Tribunal Dates Availability- Request What You Need

You can include the dates when you are unavailable and any required information for the hearing- If you are filling in the SSCS1 form, this is Section 7.

Consider anything that could potentially prevent you from attending the hearing and document it. For instance:

  • you can only attend a hearing during school hours due to childcare responsibilities

  • booked holidays

  • dates when you have important medical appointments

If these are not mentioned, and the hearing is scheduled for a date when you are unavailable, you might not be able to change it.

Sending the Form

If you fill out the online form, it gets sent once completed.

If you have completed the paper form, send your documents to HM Courts and Tribunals Service, not to the DWP. The address is mentioned on the form. You must include the following:

  • Completed SSCS1 form

  • A copy of your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

  • Additional evidence you have- (you can send this later)

According to Citizens Advice, you should send your appeal documentation by recorded delivery if possible. Or, you can visit your local post office to mail them and request proof of postage. This might be helpful later if the tribunal service claims that you did not meet the deadline or if the letter gets lost.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service will verify the form and then request the DWP to respond within another 28 days.

Click here to get more advice on challenging a PIP decision and understanding the tribunal process provided by Citizens Advice.