Social Security Benefits: Appeals

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 11th June 2018.

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Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average length of time was for the Tribunals Service to administer a First-tier Tribunal-Social Security and Child Support appeal for (a) personal independence payment, (b) employment and support allowance, (c) income support, (d) jobseeker's allowance and (e) tax credits, (f) universal credit in (i) Coventry, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) England in the last period for which figures are available.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The table below contains the requested information:

Average length of time to administer appeals (in weeks) between October and December 2017 (the latest period for which figures are available)





Tax Credits3

Universal Credit








West Midlands4














Social Security and Child Support data are normally registered to the venue nearest to the appellant’s home address. HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) cannot retrieve data based on the appellant’s actual address, but can produce reports detailing the number of cases that were dealt with at one of its regional centres or heard at a specific venue.
  1. Personal Independent Payment (PIP) (New Claims) (which replaced Disability Living Allowance from 8 April 2013) also includes PIP (Reassessments)
  2. Includes Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and ESA (Reassessments)
  3. Includes Working Family Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit
  4. Includes the following venues: Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Coventry, Nuneaton, Stoke, Telford, Hereford and Worcester
  5. Excludes SSCS Scotland and Wales Region
Although care is taken when processing and analysing the data, the details are subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale management system and are the best data available. The data may differ slightly from that of the published statistics as these data were run on a different date. Clearance times are dependent on several factors, such as hearing capacity at the venue closest to the appellant, or the local availability of tribunal panel members. Other factors might include the availability of the appellant or their representative, or the provision of further evidence. Additionally, a decision on the appeal may be reached after a hearing has been adjourned (which may be directed by the judge for a variety of reasons, such as to seek further evidence), or after a hearing has been postponed (again, for a variety of reasons, often at the request of the appellant). An appeal may also have been referred back to the First-tier Tribunal by the Upper Tribunal for disposal. Cases may also have been stayed at the First-tier Tribunal, pending a decision by the Upper Tribunal on a lead case. HMCTS has been working with the tribunal’s judiciary both to appoint additional judges and panel members and take forward initiatives with potential to increase the capacity and performance of the tribunal. These include reviewing current listing practices to increase the number of cases being listed on a tribunal session, and introducing case management “triage” sessions, with the aim of reducing the time taken for appeals to reach final determination. All these measures will increase the capacity of the tribunal with the aim of reducing waiting times for appellants.

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