Ask CPAG Online - On what grounds can you appeal?

You can appeal on any grounds, but you need to try to establish that:

  • the relevant decision was wrong; and
  • you are entitled to the disputed benefit in accordance with the law and any relevant case law.

As well as presenting the facts of your case, you should refer to the relevant law and submit any supporting evidence from third parties. In ESA and disability benefit appeals, supportive medical reports are often decisive.

Your grounds and evidence may be the same as you used in your MR application, but you are entitled to rely on additional grounds and evidence. You should also be ready to address the arguments and facts used by the decision maker to refuse your MR application, as set out in the MR notice.

Your appeal is against the original decision and not the MR decision. You must establish that the decision was wrong on the date it was made in accordance with your circumstances at the time. The tribunal cannot take into account any subsequent changes in your circumstances.

Can you appeal if your MR was refused because it was late?

In R (CJ) and SG v SSWP (ESA) [2017] UKUT 324 (AAC), a three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal held that, for benefits administered by the DWP, there is a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal even where a request for a mandatory reconsideration is refused on the grounds of lateness. The DWP has accepted this judgment and issued guidance (DMG Memo 17/17 and ADM Memo 21/17) for decision makers which states that if a late mandatory reconsideration request is received and reasons for lateness are not accepted, a decision refusing to revise should be given and a mandatory reconsideration notification issued, which gives the claimant the right to appeal direct to the First-tier Tribunal.

The Upper Tribunal decision does not directly apply to benefits adminstered by HMRC. However, CPAG's view is that the reasoning in CJ applies equally to tax credits, child benefit and guardian's allowance. For more information on the legal position and a template letter challenging an HMRC refusal to accept a late mandatory reconsideration request see the February 2018 Welfare Rights Bulletin Article Appeal Rights and Tax Credits