Benefit challenges and appeals

3. Supporting evidence

If your claim is about a benefit related to your health, it may be useful to get evidence from relevant health professionals involved in your care to support your case. For example a GP, nurse, physiotherapist or carer. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will not usually write to your GP or the other medical professionals you mentioned on your claim form once a decision has been made.

You can request a copy of your medical record and medications free of charge from your GP practice. This could include:

  • your "Patient Summary" (record of treatments and consultations)
  • up to date hospital reports or letters about your condition

You could ask for copies of these to send in to support your case.

Health professionals, including GPs, will sometimes provide a separate letter for you. Such evidence can be very helpful, but you might have to pay for it. You will need to discuss this with the person you ask. It might be a good idea to speak to them first to ensure that they have up to date information about how your medical conditions affect you. Please note the Welfare Rights Service does not have funds to pay fees for medical evidence.

If they do prepare such a letter for you this would need to outline:

  • your medical conditions
  • what treatment or care you are receiving
  • and in particular how these medical conditions affect you

The focus needs to be on the criteria for the benefit you are appealing about. For example how well you can manage the activities included in the "points system" for Personal Independence Payment or the Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit. This could be in respect of your physical and/or mental health.

It is not only medical evidence that could help your case. Letters or information from a care worker, support worker or family member may also be useful. It can also be helpful to keep and send in a diary of your difficulties.

Send your evidence to the DWP as soon as you can and try to keep a copy of anything you send.
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