If you are unhappy about a decision regarding your benefit, benefit claim, tax credits or National Insurance you can ask for more information, an explanation or request for the decision to be reconsidered. You can make a formal complaint about the service you received and under certain conditions you can claim compensation. You can also report benefit fraud anonymously.

Whenever the Department for Work and pensions (DWP) or Local Authority (LA) make a decision about your benefit they will inform you in writing.

Challenge a decision (mandatory reconsideration)

If you are unhappy about a decision regarding your benefit, benefit claim, tax credits or National Insurance you can ask the DWP or LA for more information and an explanation or you can ask for the decision to be reconsidered.

All such requests must be made in writing within one month of the original decision giving full details of the query, what you think is wrong and why.

For details of how to challenge a benefit decision are available at GOV.UK.

To download Notes about how to disagree with a decision made by DWP and the Mandatory reconsideration request form follow this link.

More information on challenging a decision is available from citizensadvice.

Appeal against a decision

If the DWP/LA look at the decision again but decide not to change it and you are still not happy, you then have 1 month to lodge an appeal.

You might consider getting help from a specialist welfare rights adviser to help you with challenging the decision.

You can find a local welfare rights adviser by contacting Civil Legal Advice or by doing a search at this link.

You can get advice online by following this link.

Appeals will be heard by an independent tribunal made up of people who are not part of the DWP/LA.

More information on making an appeal is available from citizensadvice.

A step by step guide detailing "How to Appeal" is available from Disabilty Rights UK.

Furter information is available at the following links:

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the service you have received either getting through on the telephone, feel that staff have been unhelpful, been given incorrect advice, or had other difficulties getting your case dealt with you can make a formal complaint.

This applies to the benefits office, HM Revenue and Customs, National Insurance Contributions Office, Tax Credit Office, Jobcentre Plus office, local authority or Pensions Service.

All these agencies have standards of service and you can complain if they fail to maintain these. By complaining you may help improve services for the future and, if you have lost out financially because of mistakes or poor service, you may also be entitled to compensation

More information on making a complaint and how to claim compensation is available from citizensadvice.

Remember, you can complain about the standard of service you have received when claiming a benefit or tax credit at the same time as challenging your individual benefit or tax credit decision.

For a complete guide on Appeals and Complaints go to the GOV.UK

To download the DWP Customer Charter follow this link.

Benefit Fraud

Remember, if you give wrong information or keep quiet about something which causes you to receive more money than you are entitled to from the DWP/LA then you may have to pay a civil penalty.This will only happen  if you haven't committed fraud.

More information on Benefit Overpayment is available from GOV.UK.

You can appeal against a decision to impose a civil penalty.

If you don’t report a change in your circumstances on purpose, or are dishonest in any way in order to receive benefit, you will be  treated as committing benefit fraud.

More information on benefit fraud can be found at

Reporting Benefit Fraud

Detailed information on reporting benefit fraud can be found at MAG - Reporting Benefit Fraud.

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