Ask CPAG Online - How can you challenge a sanction?

A decision to impose a sanction can be challenged by requesting a mandatory reconsideration and then, if necessary, appealing to an independent tribunal. 

Note that there is no right to request a mandatory reconsideration and appeal until a decision to impose a sanction is made by the DWP. If you are unhappy about a requirement to take part in a WFI or undertake WRA prior to being sanctioned, you should make representations to your DWP work coach or Work Programme provider.

Note also, that a sanction you are disputing will be imposed pending your challenge by way of mandatory reconsideration and appeal. If your challenge is successful, you must be repaid the amount of ESA deducted for the sanction.

If your sanction has resulted from you being discriminated against (e.g. on the basis of your disability), you may be able to bring a claim in the civil courts against the DWP or your work programme provider on the basis of the Equality Act 2010. You should seek legal advice if you think this could apply.

On what grounds can you challenge a WFI sanction?

It is always worth checking that you were required to take part in the interview (e.g. you were not in the ‘support group’, a carer, or responsible for a child under 1). You must also have been properly notified (‘in writing or otherwise’) of the requirement to attend a WFI. There can be no failure if there was no notification, but establishing this is often difficult, particularly where the DWP has evidence that the notification was sent or given. The matter must be decided on the balance of probabilities taking into account all the evidence. 

‘Taking part’ in a WFI means attending it, or being available for a telephone interview at the date and time notified, providing information about your qualifications, work history, skills, caring responsibilities and work aspirations and participating in discussions about your employability and activities to enhance your job prospects. Whether you have ‘taken part’ is basically a question of fact and evidence. 

In most cases, your challenge is likely to be on the grounds that you had ‘good cause’ for not taking part. There is no definition of ‘good cause’, but it is clearly important to explain in detail (with any supporting evidence) why you did not take part in a WFI. Examples could include illness, a domestic emergency, caring responsibilities, another appointment, or non-receipt of an appointment letter.

Click here for more information on how you can challenge a WFI sanction.

On what grounds can you challenge a WRA sanction?

Click here for possible grounds, and ways in which you can challenge a WRA sanction