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'They've got it wrong!'

If you made a claim for DLA, AA or PIP and you didn't get the result you had hoped for, you don't have to give up.

You have three options:
One
You could ask the benefits department to look at their decision again. They will call this a 'reconsideration'. This is a good idea if you have any new evidence you can send them. But it can take 3 to 4 months - which is a long time to wait if it's unlikely they will change their mind. If they don't change their decision, you can still try option 2. (From April 2013 for PIP and from October 2013 for AA and DLA, everyone will have to do this before they can do option 2).

Two
You could appeal their decision. This means three experts who do not work for the DWP will look at your claim to see if the right decision was made. Appeals can be a little bit stressful, and take much longer, but they are much more likely to be successful. They can be stressful but this guide will help you. The DWP will always look at the decision again (option 1) as the first stage of an appeal.

Three
Or, if your condition has got worse since the date of their decision and you were refused benefit altogether, you could make a new claim If you live in most parts of Merseyside, Cumbria, Cheshire or North East England all new claims from April 2013 will be for PIP. If you live anywhere else in the country, all new claims made from 10th June 2013 will be for PIP. If you were given some benefit but not as much as you think you should get, you need to ask for a supersession. From October 2013 if you request a supersession you will be required to make a claim for PIP instead. This is important because PIP has no equivalent to the lower rate care component, so fewer people will be entitled to PIP. For many people in this position it would be better to appeal and stay on DLA for as long as possible than move to PIP. If you are in this position, get advice (see ‘How to find an adviser').
Between 2015-2018 everyone aged between 16-64 will have to apply for PIP rather than stay on DLA.

"They turned me down flat!"

You may feel that you should just give up. After all, the DWP has said that you are not entitled, so maybe you're not. But they may be wrong - they often are. If so, you may be entitled to a lot more help than you are getting - and everybody should get what the law says they are entitled to. It is up to you what you choose to do, but remember you have nothing to lose.
Short change

"They’ve given me less than I think I should get!"

You may feel that you shouldn't rock the boat. The decision could be changed for the worse as well as for the better. For example, if you've been given a low rate, it is possible that they will decide that an error was made and that you are not entitled to any help at all. On the other hand, you could be entitled to a lot more help than you are getting. If you can, see an adviser (this is an expert who can give you advice about your claim - see ‘How to find an adviser'). They will be able to tell you how likely this might be for you.

"I had to claim again and they gave me less than they did before"

You may still have a good case for the amount you used to get, but you may not have. That may be because you need less help than you used to, or it may be because the law has changed or that you have moved from DLA to PIP. If you are in this position, it is particularly important that you get advice (and not from the DWP!). See ‘How to find an adviser'.

"They say I don't need much help at all! How did they work that out?"

It can sometimes be very hard to understand how the DWP made their decision. The letter they send rarely explains very well, but it will say what they based their decision on.

They will usually look at a report from your GP or a doctor they sent to see you, as well as your claim form. It may be that you haven't put enough detail on your claim form. Or it could be that they don't accept what you have said, because of what is in the other reports.

Time limits

Must appeal
You need to act quickly as the time limits can be quite strict. You have one month from the date of the letter they sent you to appeal or ask them to look at it again. If you miss the deadline, see 'What if I’ve missed the deadline?' on How to ask for an appeal.

If you need more time, phone the DWP and ask for a 'statement of reasons'.
This is an explanation of their decision. It's unlikely to tell you much, but it does give you another 14 days before the deadline.

If you are waiting to see an adviser but can't get an appointment before the month is up - ask for a statement of reasons (if 14 days will be enough) or for an appeal and say that you will give your reasons later.

If you are really not sure what to do - you may as well appeal. You can always withdraw it later.

April 2013

Get advice

Need help with a problem? Find advice services and solicitors near you who can help you solve your problem. Many people are able to get free help and advice.

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