Complaints and appeals

Contact the Child Maintenance Service if you’re unhappy with the service you’ve received.

If you’re not satisfied with how the Child Maintenance Service deals with your complaint, ask for it to go to a senior manager and be looked at by the DWP Complaints team.

Independent Case Examiner

You can ask the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) to look into your complaint if you’ve already been through the full complaints process.

You must not contact the Independent Case Examiner until you’ve received a final response from the Child Maintenance Service saying you can do so.

If you’re unhappy with the response from the Independent Case Examiner, you can ask your MP to get the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to look into it.

If your complaint is valid

The Child Maintenance Service will:

  • apologise and explain what went wrong
  • make any changes needed to put it right

If you’ve been treated particularly badly, you may get a consolatory payment. However, you do not have a legal right to this.


You can appeal a child maintenance decision about payment amounts.

Before you can appeal, you must contact the Child Maintenance Service to ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called ‘mandatory reconsideration’. You’ll need to say why you disagree with the decision.

If you’re unhappy with the outcome of the mandatory reconsideration, you can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. The tribunal is impartial and independent of government.

Appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal

Appeal to the tribunal within one month of getting the mandatory reconsideration decision. If you submit your appeal after a month you’ll have to explain why you did not do it earlier.

Download and fill in form SSCS2 and send it to the address on the form.

You’ll need to choose whether you want to go to the tribunal hearing to explain your case. If you do not attend, your appeal will be decided on your appeal form and any supporting evidence.

After you submit your appeal, you can provide evidence. Your appeal and the evidence will be discussed at a hearing by a judge and one or two experts. The judge will then make a decision.

It usually takes around 6 months for your appeal to be heard by the tribunal.