Mandatory Reconsiderations challenging a benefits sanction should be in writing and can be done on your work journal. If they are made verbally to your work coach, be sure to follow up in writing to confirm.

How to write a letter appealing your benefits sanction

There are two main reasons why Mandatory Reconsiderations succeed: 

  1. The claimant had good cause for the action they took 

  2. DWP failed to follow the correct process. It is usually unclear if DWP failed to follow the correct process until they produce their documents at appeal so you will normally need to argue good cause for the action you took. 

Good Cause 

Good cause should be given a broad interpretation so do not be worried if the argument seems weak. The important thing is to make an argument and say it is good cause. Think about whether you are at a disadvantage eg due to being unwell, having caring responsibilities, being homeless, having been a victim of domestic violence, having language issues or literacy issues, being young and/or having limited experience of the benefit system etc. This can form part or all of the argument. 

Other possible arguments will be specific to what happened.

Sample letter to challenge a benefits sanction

Below is a sample letter to help you challenge a benefits sanction.

Dear Sir/Madam, 

I am writing in response to your decision dated [insert date] notifying me that you have sanctioned my Universal Credit [or insert name of other benefit]. I wish to request a Mandatory Reconsideration of this decision.  

I consider that I have good cause for [insert action that led to sanction eg ‘being late for my appointment’] because [insert reason for action eg my alarm did not go off/I did not see it in my journal because I do not have the internet]. Therefore, I believe it is unfair that I am being sanctioned. 

You should also be aware that I [insert any issues that demonstrate how you are placed at a disadvantage]. 

In addition, I did [list any actions that you took to prevent the situation eg attempt to walk but did not realise how long this would take/try to call my work coach]. 

Please send a written response to this letter as quickly as possible 


Yours faithfully, 

[insert full name] 


The sample letter can be downloaded as a Word document here.

There are many reasons that a person may not be able to fulfil their Claimant Commitment, sometimes referred to as ‘work-related requirements'.  See here for a list of reasons that should be considered 'good cause' to help you write your challenge letter.