My application for a benefit has been turned down. What can I do?

Given the restriction measures currently in place due to coronavirus, some rules around claiming and assessments for benefits have been changed or relaxed in the short term. Please check our Coronavirus (Covid-19): Welfare and benefits section to ensure you are getting the most up to date information or call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999, from 8am to 8pm weekdays or 9am to 1pm Saturdays.

If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has turned down your claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance, or awarded you less than you had expected, you can challenge their decision.

The first thing you need to do is ask for a 'mandatory reconsideration'. This is a request asking for the DWP to look again at your claim. You must do this within one month of the DWP's initial decision.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of their reconsideration, you can make an appeal to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).HMCTS act as an independent body and can overturn the DWP's decision. They can however also reduce the amount of benefit you are receiving if they feel you were awarded the wrong amount initially. You must make an appeal within one month of when you were notified of the DWP's reconsideration.

Challenging a benefit decision and making an appeal can be a complicated and stressful process. If you feel you need help you can also discuss your case with a specialist advice service, such as RNIB's Legal Rights Service.

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