Steps to Write a Successful Disability Appeal Letter

Steps to Write a Successful Disability Appeal Letter

## Overview

The purpose of this document is to outline the steps to write a successful disability appeal letter. It is intended to be used as a guide for writers of disability appeal letters, but is not intended to replace the legal advice of a qualified lawyer.

This document has been prepared by the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) as a resource for people who are writing a disability appeal to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The DRA is a not-for-profit organisation that provides information, advice and support to people with disabilities, their families and carers, and those who work with them. DRA’s work is funded by the DWP, the Department of Health, the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government, and the Northern Ireland Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (DJEALR).

## Introduction

If you are writing to appeal against a decision made by DWP about your benefits, you will need to write an appeal letter to the Social Security Adjudicator (SSA) who made the decision. This letter is called a “disability appeal”.

It is important that you write your appeal letter in a way that makes it clear to the SSA that you are appealing against the decision made about your benefit. If you do not do this, your appeal will be rejected and you will not be able to appeal again.

If your appeal is successful, you may be entitled to a higher level of benefit, or to a different type of benefit. You will also have the right to ask for the decision to be reviewed. This means that the decision will be re-examined by a different DWP decision maker, who will decide whether or not you are entitled to the benefit you are asking for. If the decision is still against you, you can appeal this decision to the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) or to the Upper Tribunal (UT). You can find out more about these tribunals on the DWP’s website.

## What is a Disablity Appeal?

A disability appeal is a letter you write to an SSA, asking them to review a decision they made about you and your benefits. The SSA is the person who makes decisions about whether you are eligible for benefits or not. They are also the people who make decisions about the level of benefits you will get, and about how much you will have to pay towards the cost of the benefits you get. The DWP is responsible for making decisions about your entitlement to benefits, and for deciding how much money you get and what you have to do to get it.

You can only appeal against decisions made by SSA if you have been given a decision notice. A decision notice tells you what decision has been made, and tells you that you have a right of appeal against this decision. The decision notice also tells you where to send your appeal, and gives you a deadline for sending your appeal. The deadline is usually 21 days from the date of the decision notice, but this can be extended if you ask for it to be extended. You can ask for an extension of the deadline for up to three months at a time, but you can only ask for one extension in any 12 month period. If your deadline passes and you have not sent your appeal within the deadline, you have lost your right to appeal. If this happens, you must start again from the beginning. You cannot appeal against the same decision more than three times in a 12-month period, and you cannot ask for a review of a decision you have already asked for three times.

You must write your disability appeal within 21 days of the date on your decision notice (unless you have asked for an extended deadline). If you have more than one appeal to make, you should write them all within the same 21-day period. You should send your appeals by post to the address on the front of the notice. You must also send a copy of your appeal to your local DWP office, and keep a copy for your own records. You may also need to send copies of the appeal to other people, such as your GP, your local Social Services department, and any other people who have been involved in helping you to get benefits. You do not have to send these copies by post, but it is a good idea to do so, as it will help you to keep track of who you have sent copies to, and who has received copies from you.

When you have written your appeal and sent it to the right people, you need to wait for a response. This response will tell you if your appeal has been accepted or rejected, and if it is accepted, it will also tell you what your next step will be. If it is rejected, the reasons why it has been rejected will be included in the response.