We fight to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy


What can I do if I've been refused Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?

This information is for people living in England, Scotland and Wales. Personal Independence Payments are gradually being introduced in Northern Ireland. If you are looking for information about benefits in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.

Review of existing PIP claims

The Department for Work and Pensions has changed its PIP assessment process in two areas: ‘safety and supervision when carrying out activities’ and ‘overwhelming psychological distress and journeys’. They are reviewing all current PIP claims to see if they should have awarded more money. They are also looking again at claims where they didn’t award PIP. This may mean some people will get more money, or be awarded PIP when they were previously rejected. To find out more and to see if your PIP case will be reviewed, visit the following pages at gov.uk:

Safety and supervision: changes to PIP law from 9 March 2017

Overwhelming psychological distress and journeys: changes to PIP law from 28 November 2016

What can I do if I'm not happy with my PIP decision?

If you’re not happy with the decision because you have scored no points or not as many as you feel you should have, you can ask the DWP to look at your case again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration. You have one calendar month from the date of your decision letter to request this.

Mandatory reconsideration

Once the DWP has made its decision about whether you are entitled to PIP, there are 3 aspects you could challenge. You may want to challenge the actual decision (if they have refused you PIP) or the rate or the length of time of the benefit award.

Bear in mind that if you are challenging the rate or length of time, the DWP will look at your whole claim again. This could result in you being awarded less than with the first decision.

You can also ask for a reconsideration if your condition worsens. But be aware your benefit could go down as well as up. It’s always good to get advice before you do this. One of the useful organisations listed below may be able to help you with this.

How to ask for a mandatory reconsideration

To ask for a mandatory reconsideration, phone the number on the decision letter. When you speak to them you should:

  • Ask for a reconsideration of the decision and explain why you want it
  • Ask for copies of any evidence they used to make their decision
  • Ask them not to take any further action until you’ve had a chance to respond to their evidence

As well as the phone call, write them a letter requesting the evidence, and keep a copy. If you haven’t heard anything in 2 weeks, ring them again.

Once you have received the evidence you should have a better idea of why the decision was made and how to challenge it. For example, you might have said on the form that you need help with a certain task, but the healthcare professional who carried out the face-to-face interview disagrees. If possible, you could collect medical evidence to show that what you said on the form was correct, for example a letter from your doctor confirming your difficulties.

Once you have gathered evidence to support your case, send it to the address on the decision letter. A case manager will look at the further evidence you send. They will then write back to you with their decision.

If the DWP don’t change their mind they will send you a mandatory reconsideration notice which proves that you have asked for a reconsideration. You will need this if you want to lodge an appeal.

If you still want to challenge the decision, you now have 1 calendar month from the date of the mandatory reconsideration notice to lodge an appeal to an independent tribunal.


In order to appeal, you must have asked for a mandatory reconsideration first. You will have to download a copy of the official notice of appeal form SSCS1. Alternatively, you can phone your local HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and ask to be sent the appeal form.

HMCTS website: courttribunalfinder

When you fill out the form, it will ask if you want your appeal to be decided with or without a hearing. Your chances of a successful appeal are much higher if you ask for a hearing and, if possible, you have someone to represent you.

If at all possible, get a welfare rights worker to help you with your appeal. You may be able to find one from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or Welfare Rights Unit.

When you appeal, you may find it helps your case to mention the Upper Tribunal ruling. It would be a good idea to get advice on this from a benefits law advice service, such as the Disability Law Service.

Your appeal will be heard by an independent appeal tribunal. Tribunals are informal, and you can take someone with you for support.

You will usually get the decision very soon afterwards.

For more information on appeals and reconsiderations see Disability Rights UK’s appeals and reconsiderations factsheet.

Where can I get help with benefits?

Website with information to help if you have not got the PIP decision you wanted. Includes a tool to help you write a mandatory request letter, and a guide to appealing a PIP decision.
Website: advicenow.org.uk/pip-tool and advicenow.org.uk/guides/how-win-pip-appeal

Free online tool to help you prepare for your PIP assessment. The tool allows you to practice answering the sort of questions you’ll be asked in the assessment.
Website: c-app.org.uk/

Provides a free online benefits calculator and grants search tool to help you find out what financial help you are entitled to.
Website: turn2us.org.uk
Helpline: 0808 802 2000

Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice provides advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. Check the website or your local phonebook for details of your nearest Citizens Advice service.
Telephone advice in England: 03444 111 444
Telephone advice in Wales: 03444 77 20 20
Find your local Citizens Advice in Scotland
Find your local Citizens Advice in Northern Ireland
Website: citizensadvice.org.uk

Disability Information and Advice Line services, run by and for disabled people. They may be able to refer you to someone who can help you fill out claim forms for benefits (provided there is someone in your area).
Helpline: 0808 800 3333 (to find your local group)
Website: scope.org.uk/dial

This website has lots of information about all the different benefits that are available.
Website: gov.uk/browse/benefits

Disability Rights UK
This website has a number of free factsheets you can download. It offers basic information about benefits, tax credits, social care and other disability- related issues for claimants and advisers.
Website: disabilityrightsuk.org

Welfare Rights Unit
Welfare Rights Units give free advice and support on benefits. Some can also help with completing claim forms and appealing benefits decisions. Contact your local council to find out if they have a Welfare Rights Unit. To find your local council visit gov.uk/find-you-local-council

This website has lots of information about the benefits that are available in Northern Ireland.
Website: nidirect.gov.uk

Advice NI
Offers information, advice, advocacy and representation for people in Northern Ireland.
Helpline: 0800 988 2377
Website: adviceni.net

Event Date: 
Monday 11 December 2017 - 15:38

This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.

  • Updated November 2017
    To be reviewed April 2019

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment...

e-action newsletter

Subscribe to our e-action newsletter and stay informed

Subscribe to e-action newsletter feed