NI17A - A guide to Maternity Benefits
Maternity Allowance (MA)
Disputing the decision
You may have received a decision you are unhappy about, and don’t really understand why it has been made. If this is the case, you should ask the decision maker in Jobcentre Plus. You can write or you can phone for an explanation.
If you are not satisfied with the decision or explanation, you can dispute it. There are 2 ways you can do this. You can:
- ask the decision maker to look at the decision again or
- you can appeal to an independent appeal tribunal.
If you take the first option you will still have the opportunity to appeal to an independent tribunal. Whichever option you choose, it is important that you make your dispute within one month of being notified of the decision. If you dispute outside this period it may not be accepted and you could lose benefit.
You can write or phone if you want the decision maker to look at your decision again.
Appealing the decision
You have the right to appeal to an independent appeal tribunal against most decisions. You can either appeal straight away or after the decision maker has looked at the decision again. An appeal must be in writing. The leaflet If you think our decision is wrong on the Jobcentre Plus website has more information. You can use the form attached to the leaflet or you can write a letter. The form or letter giving your reasons for appeal must be sent to the office that sent you the decision. Your appeal must reach the office within one month of the date at the top of the letter telling you about the decision.
An appeal tribunal can change a decision by
- increasing the award or
- decreasing the award or
- confirming the decision is correct.
It cannot change the law, or pay more than the law allows.
Appeal tribunals include either one, two or three members who are independent of the Department for Work and Pensions. How the tribunal is made up will depend on the issues raised in the appeal, but one member will be legally qualified. Normally, a legally qualified member sitting alone will hear MA appeals.