In October 2013 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) made it a requirement that all claimants for benefits who wanted to take a case to appeal would have to get a DWP decision maker to reconsider the decision first. This is known as a mandatory reconsideration. Whilst claimants must ask for mandatory reconsideration within four weeks from the notice of a decision; there are no timescales within which the DWP have to respond though the aim is within 16 working days.
However cases Bureaux are seeing suggest the time taken is much longer – often months – which not only delays the claimant’s ability to appeal the benefit, but can leave people with no sources of income whilst they wait for this procedure to take place. This is a particular problem for those claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
This Voices from the Frontline outlines the cases CAB are seeing, the problems delays in DWP decision making is causing, and makes recommendations for change.