NI PIP Handbook - Disputes process

Part of: Northern Ireland PIP Handbook

The Welfare Reform Order 2015 includes the introduction of changes to the appeals process to ensure more disputes against benefit decisions are resolved without being referred The Appeals Service (TAS).

The change to the appeals process are:

  • mandatory reconsideration of decisions prior to appeal
  • direct lodgement of appeals with TAS, and
  • time limits for us to return appeal responses to TAS.

PIP disputes

Once a decision has been made on a claim, a decision notification will be issued to the claimant advising them of their award or disallowance, giving the reasons for the decision and advising what steps the claimant needs to take if they dispute the decision. The decision notification will also explain to the claimant or Personal Acting Body (PAB) that they can contact us if they want to discuss the decision.

If the claimant disputes the decision and would like us to look at the decision again, they can request a mandatory reconsideration. This can be requested over the phone, in writing or by completing an MR2 form. MR2 forms are available on the nidirect website.

Claimants have one calendar month from the date on their decision letter to request a mandatory reconsideration. If the reconsideration request comes in after a month, the claimant will have to provide reasons as to why it is late.

If a mandatory reconsideration request is received a PIP Case Manager may phone the claimant to discuss the decision and answer any questions the claimant or someone acting on their behalf may have.

The claimant will be asked to be specific about the points at issue or descriptors they are unhappy with. They will be encouraged to send in any further evidence or information they may have. Claimant’s will automatically have a calendar month to send in any further evidence they wish to be considered for their reconsideration. If you require more time then please contact us on (insert enquiry line number) to request more time.

A second PIP Case Manager will usually look at the decision, including any additional evidence or information that has been provided to decide if the original decision is fair and consistent with the evidence.

A letter called the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice will be issued to the claimant responding to any issues that they had about the decision and advising them of the outcome of their reconsideration request. It will also contain the claimant’s right of appeal against the decision and advise them how to make an appeal to TAS and where they can get a notice of appeal form (NOA1(SS)).

If, after we have reconsidered the decision, the claimant still disputes the decision, they can lodge an appeal directly with TAS. When lodging an appeal the claimant has one calendar month from the date on the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice to appeal direct to TAS.

If the claimant sends the appeal in error to us, we will not forward the appeal request to TAS. We will first check that a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice has been carried out, and if not will treat any appeals we receive as a request for a mandatory reconsideration. If the claimant has had a mandatory reconsideration we will forward their appeal to TAS.

An appeal cannot be lodged with TAS until after we have reconsidered the decision. The claimant will need to include a copy of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice with their appeal.

When TAS receives the appeal, they will validate it and send it to us for a response. We will send our response back to TAS within 28 days of receipt of the appeal response request.

TAS will administer and process the appeal, advising all parties of hearing dates if an oral hearing is to be held.

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