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Department for Work and Pensions [September 2012] Mandatory consideration of revision before appeal. Our response.

Disability Rights UK response

26 September 2012

The Government has now responded to this public consultation. You can view a brief summary and a link to the response below.

Background

This Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) consultation invited comments on the draft regulations for mandatory consideration of revision before appeal.

The Welfare Reform Act enables regulations to be made to require claimants and other persons who disagree with a decision to request consideration of revision before they may appeal against a decision.

In contrast to the current position, after the reconsideration process, claimants and others would have to make a positive choice to appeal. In addition the new power enables any purported appeals sent erroneously in advance of the reconsideration process to be treated as an application for revision.

The new benefits provided for in the Bill, Universal Credit (UC) and Personal Independent Payment (PIP), will include the measure from outset.

The Department proposes to implement the changes to the appeals process from April 2013. The DWP may do this in stages, by benefit, as soon as  IT capacity allows. Changes to child support will align with the new scheme in July 2013.

Disability Rights UK responded to this consultation.

Government's response to the public consultation

The DWP published a short Mandatory consideration of revision before appeal – Government interim response to public consultation which stated that the Department did not propose to make any significant changes to the draft regulations included in the consultation document as a result of the comments received.

The Government's final response to the consultation included the following:

  • There is to be no time limit for the completion of mandatory reconsideration of decisions.
  • No decision has yet been made with regard to paying ESA pending reconsideration but other benefits may be available to claimants where ESA has been disallowed.
  • It was confirmed that housing benefit and council tax benefit will not be included in the mandatory reconsideration process.
  • Where a person makes a late application for revision, the Department will be removing the requirement that an application for revision cannot be granted unless it has merit, and removing the regulation which requires that, in deciding whether an extension of time is reasonable, the decision maker cannot take into account the fact that the individual misunderstood the law or was ignorant that they could request reconsideration.

In considering a late application for revision, the decision maker will look at whether it is reasonable to grant the application for an extension of time, and what the circumstances were that meant that the application could not be made within the one month time limit.

The decision maker will still consider whether an any time revision can be made, or whether the decision should be superseded when considering a late application for revision as they do now.

Where a request for reconsideration is made out of time, and the decision maker refuses the application to revise the original decision, the effect of the draft regulations is that there can be no appeal as the Secretary of State must consider whether to revise the decision before an appeal can be made.

More information

  • disability rights uk response
  1. response in pdf format
  2. response in word format
  • dwp website - Links to the original consultation and both Government responses