After you’ve applied for a benefit, you or your relative should receive a ‘decision letter’ explaining what you have or haven’t been awarded. If either of you wish to challenge the decision, follow the advice given below.

Ask for a written statement of reasons

Before going any further, either your relative or you should ask the benefits office for a written statement of reasons.

Submit a formal appeal

If you are still not happy with the decision, you can submit a formal appeal. You need to do this within whichever of the following timeframes is later:

  • 1 month and 14 days from the date on the decision letter.
  • 14 days after you get the written statement of reasons.

You can appeal on someone else’s behalf if that person has formally given you permission to do so. You don’t have to be legally qualified to do this. You could be a family member, or anyone else the person has asked to represent them. If your relative does not have mental capacity, you would need to have power of attorney in place to challenge the decision.

The appeal procedure might be slightly different depending on which benefit you have applied for. See this page on the GOV.UK website for specific advice.

The Department for Work and Pensions has published a leaflet ‘If you think our decision is wrong’ detailing:

  • your rights to get more information about benefits decisions
  • how to challenge a decision
  • how to make a formal appeal
  • time limits for appeals.

More information

Page last reviewed: 31 March 2016
Next review due: 31 March 2017