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We’ve had a request from a member to publish a guide about how to complain to the DWP.

Before deciding whether to go ahead, we’d like to ask our readers for your opinions and experiences.

Have you ever made a complaint in connection with your benefits?

If so, what was the outcome.

If not, what stopped you from doing so?

Were you worried that complaining might lead to being targeted by the DWP for unfair treatment or that it might affect an appeal you were pursuing, for example?

A guide to complaining about the DWP will inevitably have to cover complaining about the companies that the DWP contract out work to.

And that would particularly include:

  • Atos
  • Capita
  • Maximus.

And then there’s the issue of complaining to your MP.

And to the Independent Case Examiner.

We’d be interested to hear about your experiences, if you have been involved in complaints to any of these agencies.

Is there information you didn’t have but which would have helped?

Are there things you wish you had, or hadn’t done?

Please do post a comment below the line and let us know what you think.


#46 Judi 2020-08-01 17:47
Any guides would be brilliant. Another member suggested template complaint letters. I agree these would be a great help.i'm currently at the process of tribunal so feel overwhelmed by the entire process. I am a new mem
#45 Asbo 2019-11-21 20:25
Quoting Lynn M:
I'd state how to complain to the nursing and midwifery Council and following their code of conduct.

Yes, I've already done this. They didn't do anything at first but now they have re-opened the case since at MR the DWP ruled in my favour. So they will look at 'fresh evidence'. We all need to make a fuss and keep complaining.
#44 Lynn M 2019-11-21 19:08
I'd state how to complain to the nursing and midwifery Council and following their code of conduct.
There are also professional bodies for OTs, Paramedics, Sicial Workers that can all request to complain about each medical person and their complete lack of expertise and knowledge.
Is about time more people complained rather than put up and shut ups with how questions are presented, limited time, each episode and how demeaning and humiliating the whole process is. It's a complete discrace and i want to be treated as I'd treat others with respect care and compassion as per the current NMC code of conduct. Thank you
#43 Sidney 2019-11-14 11:38
I have complained many times in writing only to be informed that it will take TWO YEARS for it to be looked into because of the amount of complaints. Paperwork has mysteriously disappeared or not been received even though it ws sent recorded delivery. I have complained to my MP, Head of DWP and even the PM.. Still nothing..it a waiting game. We need a guide to help us through this minefield.
#42 melrose 2019-11-01 15:39
A complaints guide would be absolutely invaluable. My PIP form has just been sent into the DWP after I was 'invited' to transfer from DLA to PIP (an offer you cant refuse ahem....). Im waiting to see how it goes but judging from past experiences I don't hold out a lot of hope. Anyway, I would very much appreciate a guide to complaining so yes please.
#41 Linda 2019-10-30 12:52
My Daughter has just taken over 20 hours filling in my PIP forms, she wrote everything down first in a big notepad...…..Th en copied everything onto the forms.
I had to pay £30 for all my Doctors notes,, Being lucky my Daughter is a nurse & understands every abbreviation on them she picked out all the ones that helped.
I am so worried & keep crying as I'm sure I will not get what I do on DLA, as being a nurse she may not be able to change shifts to take me for my assessment.
It will mean my Son will have to take me who is a bit hot headed, after reading about the lady with the assessor who's Son told him to leave, then kicked a stair gate up the garden.
How do they get away with these actions, ok it says the DWP have not got rid of the said assessor.
I think it would be amazing to show on here how & what & what not to do when complaining.
My forms will be sent tomorrow recorded signed for, I haven't a clue how long this whole process will take & I just feel sick with worry. :-x
#40 papasmurf 2019-10-22 09:56
Yes such a guide would be invaluable
#39 #JC4PM 2019-10-21 21:44
Yes, this would be a godsend. Thank you. I tried to end my life after my last Atos/Maximus reassessment. I was treated by the female assessor so inhumanely!... I was in fear of complaining to the DWP because I thought they may hold my complaint against me for when I am due for my next reassessment.
+1 #38 Dixip 2019-10-21 21:14
I think it would be a marvelous to have a complaint guide. Too many of moan about things but never actually make an official complaint because we do not know how to start. I know how difficult it when you are ill, disabled and under stress. If we do not complain properly nothing will ever change. The DWP know that procedures are not working correctly but because there are not enough complaints they can hide behind and say well everything must be OK. It isn’t and we must tell them in no uncertain terms what is wrong.
We had a PIP assessment and wanted to record it. When we arrived, the assessor said we couldn’t because it was an NHS building and all electrical appliances used had to be PAT tested. Capita knew this but had not told us. We formally complained and got the taxi fare and £70 in compensation. If enough people complain it starts to become expensive and then maybe they will do their jobs properly.
Maybe a list of some of the things we should complain about would be handy too.
#37 D 2019-10-21 09:50
As we know the DWP never appear to be accountable, for their mistakes, and never seem to apologise for the distress and inconvenience they cause?
A complaints guide would be useful, but only if the DWP will take notice or recognise the complaint and deal with it in a timely manner. We all know the DWP feel, and act like they are not answerable to anyone, and mistakes are many, but the bureaucracy of complaining puts most people off, who never want to deal with them and their poor attitude unless they really have to.
#36 puttytat 2019-10-19 20:56
#35 greeneyedlad 2019-10-19 10:49
Yes a guide would be good as I had no knowledge of where or how to complain.
I ended up complaining in Scotland to Universal Credit expansion lead Stephanie Sneddon.
I only had her details due to meeting her at a talk she gave to a disability group I am in,
She then passed my email onto the complaints resolution team.
They eventually awarded me £100 special payment for their mistakes. I also asked my MP to step in.
#34 PhilB 2019-10-19 09:45
I think a complaints guide would be very useful, although a lot of work to put together! I did complain to ATOS, who did have a clear complaints procedure at the time btw, concerning the conduct of one their assessors and they investigated and apologised for what that's worth.
+1 #33 Daisymae 2019-10-18 17:59
We definitely need some advice.
When I got my assessment for pip I should really have got high care as I have no feeling below my waist due to nerve damage and feet numb.
I was told that I shouldn’t complain as I might be wiped, and then get nothing.
It’s the fear factor ....that you have got something and you don’t want to lose it. Something is better than nothing!
-1 #32 Asbo 2019-10-18 15:23
I complained to Atos, went through all the stages as assessor had ignored my GPs evidence and my own evidence so i knew I had good grounds. I lost the PIP mobility I'd had for 20 years. I wrote a letter of complaint and used this as basis for MR. Letter came back after Stage 1 complaint so I progressed to next stage. I could see they were caving so I took to last stage and they agreed assessor had ignored my GPs evidence which was the difference between no mobility and enhanced. Upshot was they (Atos) wrote to the DWP who restored all my PIP at MR (my Daily Living had been reduced too and that was restored. ) I had other complaints too, e.g. they tried to call me in for an assessment twice and my anxiety went through the roof. I quoted this from:

Mental health assessment chaired by Joan Ryan on 22nd january 2019
"We would not assess a blind person with a paper form and we would not assess a deaf person over the phone, unless there was somebody at the other end to interpret for them. Why should it be any different when assessing somebody whose difficulties are related to severe anxiety and the inability to cope with going out the door and taking a bus on their own? They are told to go to an address they have never heard of, in a place they have never been to, to find their way there by a bus that they do not know exists, by a time set by the assessors, and to pay their own way there.... Then we wonder why people think the system is rigged against them." - Peter Grant- Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe)

Atos apologised. I complained to the NMC while I was at it too. No joy there yet and waiting on ICE

Maximus just done the same, tried to call me in for WCA ignoring my GPs evidence so MP intervened and will do on paper
#31 Hoopsh 2019-10-17 12:37
A guide would be great help to many. I have made complaints to DWP and Atos due to being mistreated so badly. I did involve my MP which helped a lot and without my MP’s help, I would have got no where with DWP and Atos. They truly made my life a living misery and hell. It’s difficult enough knowing how to prepare a complaint and a guide to help us, would be so helpful as it’s all too overwhelming as it is on top of all the ill health.
#30 Meg3 2019-10-17 12:16
Sorry just one last point because of us are so overwhelmed with it all.. Without following their correct written Complaint Policy and Procedures.. They can keep making claims that The changes are successful, overall the numbers of claimant's are happy as complaints are low, and majority of claimants are ineffected by benefit changes..

A Complaint Guide would empower all of us to place our complaints in the correct way to the correct addresses and addressed to the correct people... Hopefully all the complaints would fall into correct softwarw codes od Assessment complaints, poor treatment, missing medical data or incorrectly record, etc etc etc.....

I believe now more than ever we need a Complaint Guide please..
#29 Meg3 2019-10-17 12:05
A Massive please... I believe that many members are not aware that DWP, Atos, Maximus, Capita all should have A Company Complaint Procedure and Policy..All there staff should provide that if asked for.

It is very understable how we are so stuck in the complex system and appeal we cannot see how to seperate the complaint from the ongoing situations.. and many of us have ongoing complaints tbat keep effecting are onvoing live claims.

A New Guide Complaints would help us to seperate the difficult situation, keeping one area focused on our claim paperwork, points, assessments, mandatory reconsideration s and Tribunal Appeals and the maze and difficulties with those that your very wonderful step by step guides already help us to follow those difficult and very challenging situations. The complaint Guide would show us all there is a actual printed procedure for each one, dwp, atos, maximus, capitahelp us ait would help keep us mindful and guided with the correct complaint process... and hopefully our complaints would be then in tje correct complaint departments and in there complaint procedures whichhave to be followed....

I think it is obvious from all our comments there is a feeling our complaints are not dealt with... The Guide would help us to understand are we complaining in the correct way, following the correct complaints systems and procedures....

I know none of us want more paperwork, but i think unknowingly we are alread putting our complaints in our claims... I know i am guilty of that. i believe a guide with sample complaint letters please will actually help me and many others to seperate my/our complaints and send it so it can be clearly seen... What we all should remember if its on separate paperwork following dwp, Atos, Maximus, Capita complaints procedures we can also attach it within our claims and any Mandatory Appeal or Tribunal submission... It is also clear many of us fear complaining.
#28 Elle Bee 2019-10-17 09:34
YES PLEASE! Your guides are very good and very helpful and have enabled me to identify the fiction I have been told so far by the PIP people. To have a guide would give me more confidence on how to proceed as I feel even the language that they use in their letters and reports are designed to be a put down - or inciting that disabled people like myself have had a miracle cure despite letters from specialists etc. I am concerned about being penalised for complaining as even on the phone they are continually trying to stop you continuing your claim or appeal. In fact I was told that my MR would be instigated but 2 weeks later I found that it hadn't been done. So after other delays on their part I will be waiting for around 14 weeks after they received my form for a result!
#27 lying down 2019-10-16 22:54
P.S. In a fit of pique after said abusive PIP assessment I rang the PIP helpline and asked for the notes the nurse had taken, as I realised it seemed very unfair to take personal intrusive notes about someone and not bother checking them with the person, who is basically a patient, only to be told some garbage about oh no we can't do that it would take six weeks for the process of assessment to be completed at which point I declared that apparently the law says I can have my notes whenever I feel like it, at which point she put me through to someone else and got the notes ASAP. I recommend that other members and claimants do the same if feeling confident, it's your right, although you may meet resistance. The point of law is the data protection act it was a subject access request for sensitive personal data. However, sending this in the post with no security, not signed for or anything, is a gross lack of security as I have a shared entrance, so I will be reporting that to the ICO.

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