Have you been called by the DWP and made an 'offer' after you had asked for an appeal?

As you may have seen in the news, working with Public Law Project, Z2K and RNIB, we successfully challenged the DWP’s unfair practice of calling claimants after they lodged an appeal and ‘offering’ them a higher award in exchange for dropping their appeal. We want to ensure that the DWP have changed this practice as much as they are supposed to and we need your help.
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Changing the system

Read our blog about how we helped bring about this important legal change.

We want to hear from you if you received a call from the DWP after you had asked for an appeal and any of the following happened:

  • You felt pressured (or that they were trying to unfairly encourage you) into accepting the offer that is below what you think you are entitled to
  • You were made multiple offers - you rejected one and they then made you a better offer
  • You were not told that you could accept the offer and then appeal it (without having to have a mandatory reconsideration first)
  • They phoned the claimant directly, even though they have an appointee that helps them with their benefits

We also want to hear from advisers, social workers or other professionals who have clients who have experienced any of the above.

Please tell us about your experience in our survey.

Changing your award

If you have accepted the offer, and now are wondering if you might have got a better award at an appeal hearing, don’t worry. You can appeal the new award, without having to have another mandatory reconsideration.

If you accepted the offer more than one month ago, you will have to explain why you were unable to ask them earlier. If you can, explain that the delay was a result of your disability (for example, if you were unable to deal with it until now because you need help to deal with your benefits, or the thought of it made you too anxious) it will help. If you were not told of your right to appeal by the DWP, or if they implied that you couldn't, include that. If you didn’t know you should appeal again until you got advice, explain that you couldn’t get advice earlier because of your disability.

If you are not sure what to do, see if you can speak to an adviser. See our suggestions for how you might be able to find an adviser to help you below. If you are unable to see an adviser, read the advice in our relevant appeal guide. Most people have nothing to lose by appealing.

We recognise that many claimants have had such bad experiences with the DWP that they want to avoid all unneccesary contact in case their award is reduced. It is understandable and we are sorry that you have had such a bad experience.

How to find an adviser

Start by looking to see if there is a Citizen’s Advice Bureau that helps with benefits problems near you. Many now offer advice over the telephone. Get advice - find your local CAB

You can see if there is an independent advice agency in your area on Advice UK’s site. AdviceUK - looking for advice?

Shelter also has a search facility on their website of local advice services. Use the tabs along the top of the results to see the different kinds of advice services. Only some agencies will provide advice on benefits so check the areas of law covered by each agency. Shelter - Advice finder

Check if your local council has a welfare rights service. In some cases they will be able to represent you.  If you didn’t find their details in Shelter’s search, phone the council and ask for ‘welfare rights’, check their website, or ask in your local library. 

Check if there is a Law Centre near you. Law Centres Network

There are sometimes services that you can access through your GP, social worker, or community centre. There's no harm in asking  - so call your GP, and your social worker or community centre if you have one, and ask if there is a service for you.

Some charities provide advice services for particular groups - for example, MS society provides a legal advice over the phone from the Disability Law Service (MS legal advice line). Similarly, RNIB have a helpline for Blind and partially sighted people. Royal National Institute of Blind People Check if there is a charity that provides benefits advice to people with your illness or disability.  If they provide information on their website about appealing or claiming PIP it may also be very useful as it will usually show how people with similar symptoms to yours have proved their entitlement. 

September 2021
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