Benefit disputes and appeals
When we have dealt with your claim for Housing Benefit we will send you a decision letter.
For Council Tax Support you will receive a bill stating that the bill has been produced due to a benefit adjustment.
What if I don't fully understand the decision?
If you do not fully understand your notification letters you can ask for a more detailed explanation, called a statement of reason.
This request can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or written and posted to us. It must be received within 1 month of the date of our notification letter. The time limits for disputing a decision, will be frozen whilst we prepare your statement. Once a statement is issued to you, the time limits will be unfrozen.
What if I disagree with the decision?
If you are unhappy with a decision made when we assess your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support award then you can ask for it to be re-considered.
This must be done in writing and must be signed by you, the customer. For housing benefits this request must be made within one calendar month of the date of the decision in dispute.
What happens next?
We will look at our decision to see if we can change it in your favour. We will send you a letter stating if we have been able to change it or not.
If we have not been able to change the decision then you can then request a formal appeal of this decision. This involves an independent third party hearing the case and making a final decision. For your Housing Benefit claim this will be GOV.UK - Courts and Tribunals Service, or for Council Tax Support this will be the Valuation Tribunal Service.
What is an Appeal Tribunal?
An Appeal Tribunal is a panel of tribunal members who hold a hearing that you can attend to put your case forward. Hearings are held in a number of places locally and will normally have one member who will have a legal qualification.
You will receive a written decision at the end of the hearing. You can also deal with appeals just on the paperwork provided if you don't want to go to a hearing. In this case they will send you their decision in writing.
There is a further right of appeal if you think the decision is legally wrong, you will be told about this when you are given your decision.
Decisions you can't appeal against
You can ask us to look again at any decision you think is wrong but there are some decisions which do not carry a formal right of appeal and therefore the tribunal may chose not to hear the case. For example:
- any parts of the actual housing benefit or council tax support scheme set down in law
- a decision over whom to recover a recoverable overpayment from once legitimate targets have been identified, as out lined in law
- any exercise of discretion to recover a recoverable overpayment
- any decisions to exercise discretionary powers
- a decision to suspend a benefit claim pending further investigation
- the method of recovery of an overpayment
- Local Housing Allowance figures
- an assessed Income Figure from the Department of work and Pensions (DWP).
- when and how the benefit is paid
Landlords and appeals
Landlords have only limited rights of appeal if they don't agree with decisions about the housing benefit for their tenants.
Landlords can appeal if we decide not to pay their tenant's benefit direct to the landlord or if we ask them to repay when we've paid them too much benefit for one of their tenants.
Landlords cannot appeal about how much benefit their tenant receive.