Welfare benefits appeals and support
We can provide help with welfare benefit appeals, and some support with welfare benefits, under legal help and through various projects.
Upper Tribunal appeals
If you’ve had a benefits appeal disallowed by the First Tier Tribunal and you'd like help to challenge this decision, we may be able to assist you. Free legal advice is still available for Upper Tribunal appeals for people who are financially eligible. We have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency for this level of work.
Appeals to the Upper Tribunal are based on errors of law. An error of law means that the judge had all the right information, but you think the law wasn't applied correctly.
Before we can help however, you need to take the following three steps:-
- Request a Statement of Reasons: Following your hearing, and after receipt of the Decision Notice, you need to write to the First Tier Tribunal within one month to request the Statement of Reasons. This is a detailed breakdown of the reasoning behind the First Tier Tribunal’s decision. If you need help to do this, you can ask for help from a local advice agency like Citizens Advice.
- Request Permission to Appeal: After receiving the Statement of Reasons, you need to write to the First Tier Tribunal within one month to request Permission to Appeal. Permission will only be granted where there has been an error of law or some procedural error. It can be very difficult to identify an error of law and you may need some help, for instance from a local advice agency like Citizens Advice.
- Receive a response about Permission to Appeal: Once you’ve received a response about Permission to Appeal from the First Tier Tribunal, whether your request is refused or allowed, please get in touch with us if you’d like us to help you.
We can take referrals from other agencies, or people living in London can contact us directly.
First Tier Tribunal appeals
We can sometimes assist people with appeals to the First Tier Tribunal, in conjunction with pro bono volunteers from major law firms. We can help with Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit where this involves decisions about work capability or Right to Reside issues.
We can take a case once you have received the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice from the Department for Work and Pensions. We can take referrals from other agencies, or people living in London can contact us directly.
Stepping Stones project
In partnership with another charity Z2K, Stepping Stones supports families and individuals who are in crisis, whether through a benefit sanction, housing problem or as a result of any other aspect of the benefits system.
Stepping Stones’ clients receive immediate advice and support to try to resolve crises with the help of the project caseworker and volunteers. The project can also help with appeals to the First Tier Tribunal and help identify areas where longer-term support could be helpful, for instance support with English as an additional language, IT literacy and financial capability.
The project is for residents of Lambeth, Westminster and Wandsworth, and is funded through the National Lottery Community Fund’s Help through Crisis fund.