The address for DWP social security pre action correspondence has changed. Please do not send any of the CPAG template pre action letters to DWP Legal Advisors either by post or by email.
We will amend the templates as soon as possible. Please contact [email protected] for advice in the meantime.
Warning: these letters are for advisers
Please don't send these letters unless you have an adviser acting for you.
If you are a member of the public with a problem you feel could be resolved using one of these letters, it is important to seek advice to confirm whether judicial review is appropriate.
If you do not have an adviser to act for you, you may be able to find one on advicelocal.uk
Only for use in England and Wales
If you intend to use any of these letters in Scotland, please use with caution. The pre-action protocol does not apply in Scotland, so changes will be needed. Find out more about some of these changes.
Benefits for migrants and refugees
EUSS settled status or application pending
EU settled status and EUSS application pending.
JR8: Refusal of UC when a claimant has indefinite leave to remain under the EU settlement scheme - this letter has been removed. You, or your client, can use the following template to make a mandatory reconsideration request instead: EU settled status MR request
EU pre-settled status
For pre-settled status after 9 May 2019, please refer to our test cases page on Fratila and another v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2021] UKSC 53 for information on CPAG's pre-settled status legal challenge.
If your client has any other qualifying right to reside seek a mandatory reconsideration of the DWP's decision to refuse UC without considering your client's alternative right to reside.
If your client has pre-settled status, is destitute or has an alternative R2R, and their UC claim has been stayed behind SSWP's appeal in SSWP v AT, see our test case page on SSWP v AT (AIRE Centre and IMA Intervening)  UKUT 330 (AAC); SSWP v AT  EWCA Civ 1307 for further resources. The Supreme Court refused the Secretary of State permission to appeal on 07/02/24. The successful Court of Appeal decision is now final. The resources on this page relating to AT have therefore mostly been removed pending updates.
Habitual residence test
Note: all letters will need editing to confirm your client has a qualifying right to reside, ie, if s/he is not British or Irish that s/he has:
- EU Settled Status, or
- EU Pre-Settled Status and a qualifying right to reside under the EEA Regs, or
- applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and is awaiting a decision and has a qualifying right to reside under the EEA Regs, or
- leave to enter or remain in the UK other than pre-settled status or leave to enter as a holder of an EUSS Family Permit or Travel Permit
- non-EEA leave to remain
Please get in touch if you have a client whose UC has been suspended for an unreasonable period (particularly if this is due to ID reverification), a template may be available: [email protected]
Letter 127 can be edited for use with Ukrainian refugees with reference to The Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022, and in respect of Child Benefit and Tax Credits: The Child Benefit and Tax Credits (Amendment) Regulations 2022, and for Sudanese refugees with reference to the Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (see ADM Memo 10/23 and DMG Memo 5/23 for DWP guidance). If you are unable to make these changes, please contact [email protected] and you may be able to refer your client to CPAG.
JR140 Refusal of Sure Start Maternity Grant to resettled Afghan refugee because baby is not claimant's first child (last updated Dec 2022) Letter removed as on 06/02/23 DWP correspondence to CPAG stated:
- Ministers have given approval to change Sure Start Maternity Grant (SSMG) guidance, to apply an exemption to people with a pre-flight child / children, fleeing Afghanistan and Ukraine as a consequence of the Taliban takeover and the Russian invasion.
- An exercise to review qualifying cases / claims previously disallowed under the SSMG ‘first child only’ policy will commence with immediate effect, and as long as all the other eligibility criteria is satisfied, payments will be issued over the coming weeks.
- A communication has been issued to DWP staff informing them of the exemption for any new SSMG applications received.
- The Social Fund Maternity and Funeral Expenses (General) Regulations 2005, GOV.UK website and SF100 claim form will be amended in due course.
If anyone has any difficulty getting previously refusals changed, or sees newly issued refusals wrongly issued then please do let CPAG know via the Early Warning System or to [email protected]
Additionally, if you have a client who is refused a SSMG due to having previous children but does not have baby items due to fleeing domestic abuse, please get in touch, [email protected].
JR57 Refusal to accept retrospective tax credit claim following grant of refugee status. Letter removed. Please refer to R (on the application of) DK v The Commissioners for HMRC and (SSWP (Interested Party)  EWHC 1845 (Admin);  EWCA Civ 120 on the CPAG test cases page for details of CPAG's successful litigation on this issue and resources for advisers.
JR98 Refusal to backdate child benefit to date first claimed asylum rather than date successfully claimed asylum, when refugee status granted on same facts as when first applied for asylum. This letter has been removed as HMRC guidance is now correct following use of template JR98 by Manchester Citizens Advice Bureau. Please seek a mandatory reconsideration instead, an MR template is available.
JR7 UC incorrect requirement for a NINo – refugee (last updated October 2019). Letter removed. Check under 'National insurance numbers' on our judicial review pre-action template letters: universal credit and migration to universal credit page.
Stopping unwanted payments into domestic abuse survivors' bank accounts
Please get in touch if you have a client in this situation as the DWP has indicated it may be able to resolve individual cases, and we are happy to forward cases to them. Please contact [email protected], we will provide and authority form for your client to sign, manually or digitally.
The DWP's legal advisers have provided the following response to correspondence from CPAG:
"...we are concerned by the cases you report where the individual has notified DWP but been told that the payment into their account cannot be stopped even where they can evidence that they are the account holder. We are committed to the prevention of abuse and we do have measures designed to support people who flee violent and abusive households.
In light of your correspondence we will be investigating further the operational and evidential processes and considering if there are further measures required to manage this situation. In the meantime, if you do have the details of any particular individuals who are receiving their ex-partner’s UC payments into their account against their will, we can ensure they are passed to the appropriate team for consideration if they would like us to do so."
See also our template letters about 'untidy tenancies' under 'Elements: housing costs element' on the judicial review pre-action template letter page: universal credit and migration to universal credit.
Please get in touch if your client shares the care of a child 50/50 following relationship breakdown and HMRC refuse to exercise discretion to pay the mother because child benefit is already in payment to the father, regardless of other factors. We may be able to provide a pre action template letter for you to use, or facilitate a referral to a law firm. Email [email protected].
Support from CPAG
For support using the template letters above and to have your letter reviewed before you send it please contact [email protected].
Sending the letters
Save the pre-action letter as a PDF and send it with your client's signed authority by email to the relevant postal or email address:
DWP: The address for pre-action correspondence to the DWP has changed. Please seek advice from [email protected] before sending any of the templates to DWP. Do not send by email. The templates will be updated in due course.
HMRC: [email protected]
Local authority: FAO legal department
Tell us the response to your pre-action letter
Please let us know how DWP, HMRC or the relevant local authority respond as this will inform future templates. Email us at [email protected]
The DWP might respond to your letter along these lines: "Judicial review is inappropriate. However the decision has been changed on mandatory reconsideration”. This is a success for your client.
If you have not received a response within 14 days (or the lesser time requested due to your client's circumstances) contact CPAG for advice [email protected].
If the matter remains unresolved, we may be able to refer you to a law firm who can issue judicial review proceedings.
Tell us what you think
We report regularly to our funder about whether you have found these template letters useful. Please send us your feedback to help us to continue to fund the project. Email us at [email protected].