Do you think your benefit claim needs to be reviewed because your circumstances have changed or a medical condition has got worse?
Recently we have been getting questions from members asking how they can get the DWP to take a fresh look at their benefit claim because a medical condition has become worse and is affecting their quality of life and ability to do the tasks listed in PIP and ESA assessments.
If you're getting a benefit from the DWP and your circumstances change, you can ask the DWP to review and change the original decision that was made on your claim. This is called a supersession.
The DWP can also use supersession to change a decision in other circumstances. For example, if the law changes (such as the recent announcements relating to the U Turn on mental health and PIP mobility claims ) or if they receive a new medical report about your fitness for work.
This article explains more about how supersession works, how to ask for a supersession and what happens if you don’t agree with a supersession decision.
Are there any risks attached to asking for an early review of your benefit claim?
Yes, there are.
It is important to realise, that when you ask for a review of an existing benefit claim, the whole claim will be reviewed and this means that the DWP can make the following decisions;
The fact that the DWP can reduce or remove an existing benefit award should not deter you from asking for a review that you believe needs to be completed. What you should do however, is ensure that your application for a Supersession review and any accompanying evidence adequately demonstrate the need for a review and why an increase in benefit would be the correct decision.
What is supersession?
A benefit decision is a legal decision that can only be changed if the law allows. One of the ways that a decision can be changed is by supersession.
A supersession decision changes the benefit decision from the date the change happens, rather than the date when the decision was made.
What about backdated benefit payments?
If you’re owed any extra benefit, you’ll only get if from the date of the change, or the date when the DWP becomes aware of the change. You can’t be backdated any money.
When can a Supersession be used?
There are only certain reasons why a decision can be changed by supersession. The main reasons when a supersession decision will be used will be:
The main reason why you would ask the DWP for a supersession will be if your circumstances have changed in some way and you think your benefit should be re-calculated.
Reasons for asking for a supersession include:
The DWP can make a supersession decision if they find out about a change to your claim.
They may make a supersession decision if:
Which decisions can be changed by supersession?
You can ask for a decision to be changed by supersession or a decision maker can decide that it needs to be changed without you asking.
The law says that a decision maker must show there are grounds to change the decision.
Decisions which can be changed include:
How do you ask for a review of your claim by supersession?
You must apply to the DWP office that made the decision and you can apply by phone or in writing.
We always recommend that you apply in writing so you have proof. Keep a copy of your letter and a note of the date you sent it.
What happens when your request for a review is actioned by the DWP?
A decision maker will look at your application and decide if there is enough information to make a decision. They can ask you for more information or evidence if they need it. Our advice would be to ensure that you send as much relevant supporting evidence as you can to support the aspects of your claim that you want to review.
You will have at least one month to provide any information or evidence that the DWP request from you or you decide to submit after your initial review request. You can ask the DWP to allow you more time if it will be difficult for you to provide the information by the deadline. However, they don’t have to agree to this.
If you don’t provide information by the deadline you've agreed with the decision maker, they will make a decision based on the information they have.
What happens if you don't agree with the DWP's revised decision?
If you want to challenge a supersession decision If you are not happy with the new decision, for example it does not give you everything you asked for, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again.
This is called a Mandatory Reconsideration. You must do this within one month of the date the decision was sent to you. This time limit can be extended by 13 months in some circumstances.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the reconsideration, you can appeal.
Whats the difference between a Supersession and a Mandatory Reconsideration?
A mandatory reconsideration should be used when someone disagrees with a decision because they think the decision is wrong. This is usually a dispute about the facts and usually must be requested within a month of the decision being made. Sometimes you can request a mandatory reconsideration late. The important thing about a mandatory reconsideration is that if your request is successful you are paid arrears going back to the beginning of the claim.
A supersession is usually used because a decision made in the past is no longer correct due to a change of circumstances since the decision was made. In practice this term is rarely used, instead people contact the benefit office and state that their circumstances have changed. The benefit office then collects the relevant information/evidence and makes a new decision, superseding the last one. If you disagree with a supersession you can then request a mandatory reconsideration (and then appeal if you still disagree).
The BASE adviser team will be happy to answer any questions you have on this matter or any other benefits questions that you need help and support with.
If you haven't already done so, please come and join our thriving online Facebook community where you will be able to meet the people that have brought you this article and ask them questions to your hearts content.
Join the Facebook community here: BASE