If a person doesn’t meet their “responsibilities” or what they’ve agreed in their Claimant Commitment, they could face a sanction. It means their Universal Credit payment could be stopped or reduced.
As well as Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants may be able to appeal a decision about their entitlement to benefits.
It’s important to note the process differs if a person lives in Northern Ireland.
Appeals are decided by the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal.
This is impartial and independent of government, and the tribunal will listen to both sides prior to making a decision, the Government states.
How to appeal a sanction
Before the appeal, the person must usually ask for the decision about their benefits to be looked at again.
This is called a “mandatory reconsideration”.
It may be some people don’t need to do this though – and their decision letter will state they can appeal straight away in these instances.
“The letter will explain why you do not need a mandatory reconsideration – include this when you submit your appeal,” GOV.UK explains.
Within one month of getting the mandatory reconsideration decision, claimants are directed to appeal to the tribunal.
“If you start your appeal after a month you’ll have to explain why you did not do it earlier,” warns the Government.
“Your appeal might not be accepted.”
Citizens Advice states: “HMCTS can still accept your appeal up to 13 months after the decision was sent if you can give good reasons why it’s late.
“The DWP might object to the reasons you give. If this happens, a tribunal will decide if the appeal can be accepted.”
After submitting the appeal, claimants will need to provide evidence to the tribunal, and the appeal will then be decided at a tribunal hearing.
It is possible to submit an appeal online, via the Government website.
Appealing by post, via the SSCS1 form, is also possible for a Universal Credit, ESA or PIP decision.