Ask CPAG Online - How can you challenge an ESA decision?

Most decisions relating to your entitlement to employment and support allowance (ESA) can be challenged by asking for a mandatory reconsideration (MR) by the DWP. Then, if you are not happy with the MR decision, you can appeal to an independent tribunal. This includes decisions that:

  • you are not entitled to ESA because you do not have ‘limited capability for work’ (LCW);
  • you are not entitled to a ‘support component’ because you do not ‘limited capability for work related activity’ (LCRWA);
  • your ESA is reduced because of a sanction (note there is no right to request a mandatory reconsideration and appeal until you receive a sanction decision);
  • you are refused a ‘hardship payment’ of income-related ESA (IRESA);
  • you do not satisfy any of the other conditions of entitlement (e.g. the immigration and residence rules, the income and capital rules for IRESA, the ‘exempt work’ rules).

Around one third of decisions relating to LCW/LCWRA are overturned on appeal, so it clearly important that you challenge decisions you are unhappy about.