3. Appeal to the tribunal

You must either ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ or take other steps before you appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal - it depends on what you’re appealing.

The tribunal is independent of government. A judge will listen to both sides of the argument before making a decision.

Fill in an appeal form

For most benefits, you must fill in form SSCS1. Otherwise, use the right form for the type of benefit you’re appealing.

Benefit Form
Child maintenance SSCS2
Tax credits, Child Benefit, Guardian’s Allowance SSCS5
Compensation Recovery Scheme SSCS3
NHS charges under the Compensation Recovery Scheme SSCS4
If you didn’t have to get mandatory reconsideration GL24

Read the guidance for information on how to appeal:

  • SSCS1A if you’re appealing a decision made by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • SSCS5A if you’re appealing a decision made by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • SSCS6A if you’re appealing a decision about the Diffuse Mesotheliomia Payment Scheme

You must explain why you think the decision is wrong and include any evidence you have to support this.

Send your form and a copy of your mandatory reconsideration notice (if you have one) to the address on the form. You can also appeal by writing a letter.

Time limit

You must usually send your appeal within a month of either:

  • the date of your mandatory reconsideration notice (if you have one)
  • the date of the decision you’re appealing

Late appeals

You must say why your appeal’s late when you appeal. You can sometimes appeal up to 13 months after the date of the original decision; for example, if you were:

  • ill or in hospital
  • coping with bereavement
  • unable to send your appeal form, for example because of a postal strike

The tribunal will contact the other party - they can object to late appeals. The tribunal will then decide if the appeal can be heard.

Choose if you want a hearing

You must choose whether:

  • you want to go to a hearing - you’ll be able to present your case to a tribunal
  • you want your appeal decided on your application form and supporting documents

If you want to go to a hearing you must say whether:

  • you have a representative who’ll be at the hearing
  • you need an interpreter
  • you need any special arrangements, for example because of mobility or other health issues
  • there are any days when you can’t make the hearing

Help with the form

Call the helpline if you have any questions about completing the form. The helpline can’t give you legal advice.

Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (England and Wales)
Telephone: 0300 123 1142
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (Scotland)
Telephone: 0141 354 8400
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

What happens next

Your application will be sent to the other party - they’ll be asked to respond. You’ll be sent the response, and you must bring it with you to the hearing.

The tribunal will then write to you with a hearing date. The hearing will usually take place at the nearest tribunal to where you live.

You must send your evidence to the tribunal as soon as you can before the hearing so it can be sent to all parties. More information will be on the letter you get confirming your hearing date.

Change your hearing date

Write to the tribunal to see if you can change the hearing date if you’re unable to attend - the address is on the letter confirming your hearing date. The tribunal will make a decision and let you know.

Withdrawing your appeal

You must also write to the tribunal for permission if you want to withdraw your appeal once the hearing has started. You don’t need permission to withdraw your appeal before the hearing’s started.