CAS has responded to the Social Security Advisory Committee's consultation on Decision Making and Mandatory Reconsideration.
Mandatory Reconsideration was introduced in April 2013 and is the process whereby benefit claimants must have a decision reconsidered internally by the DWP before taking the case to a First Tier Tribunal.
CAS has a number of concerns about the reconsideration process and, based on CAB case evidence and survey responses, has made the following recommendations:
- Citizens Advice Scotland strongly recommends that a statutory time limit should be introduced within which a Mandatory Reconsideration decision must be returned to the claimant.
- Prior to the introduction of Mandatory Reconsideration in April 2013, benefit claimants would be paid their benefit whilst awaiting their Tribunal hearing. This is not the case under Mandatory Reconsideration, and for some claimants this can mean waiting weeks with no benefit, or applying for a benefit for which they are unable to meet the conditionality requirements. CAS recommends that benefit payments continue at the assessment rate during the reconsideration period.
- CAS recommends that the DWP and HMRC provide clarity around whose responsibility it is to obtain and provide medical evidence during the Mandatory Reconsideration process as well as in other circumstances.
- CAS recommends that a review is undertaken of the process whereby health professionals provide evidence in support of benefit claims so that an integrated policy approach can be developed, addressing the existing limitations of both the social security system and the NHS in assessing how an individual’s condition affects their every-day lives.
To read the full response, download the publication below.