Housing Benefit appeals

What to do if you think the decision on your claim is wrong

You should contact us to:

  • Ask us to explain it.
  • Ask us to look at the decision again (reviewed).
  • Appeal to an independent tribunal to look at the decision.

You can ask us to explain the decision on the phone by calling the benefits helpline.

There are time limits for asking us to explain the decision to you in writing, to look at the decision again, or for making an appeal. The time limit is normally one month from the date of the decision letter. If you ask us to explain the decision in writing it is called a 'statement of reasons'.

You must write to us and sign your letter if you want us to look at the decision again, to appeal against the decision or want a statement of reasons.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my benefit is correct?

If we make any decision about your benefit we will send you a decision letter that tells you when your benefit starts or changes, how it has been worked out and the amount of benefit you have been awarded.

You should always check your letters carefully to ensure that all the details are correct.

I have asked for a statement of reasons, what happens next?

If you have asked for a statement of reasons and are happy with the explanation we provide then the original decision remains.

If you receive the statement of reasons and you think the decision is wrong you can ask us to look at the decision again or appeal.

What should I do if I want you to look at the decision again?

You must write to us within one month of the date on the decision letter.

When you do this tell us which decision you want us to look at again, tell us the date(s) on the notification letter(s) and give reasons why you think the decision is wrong.

If you have any evidence that supports the reason you think the decision is wrong you can send it to us with your form or letter.

After you have written to us a different officer will look at the decision to see if it is correct. Using the form will help you provide the right information.

If we find that the decision is wrong we will change it and send you a letter explaining the new decision.

If the decision is considered to be correct we will send you a letter explaining why.

If you do not agree with our explanation and want to appeal to the Tribunal Service you have another month from the date of the letter to do so.

What should I do if I want to appeal against the decision?

You must write to us within one month of the date on the decision letter.

When you do this tell us which decision you are appealing against, tell us the date on the notification letter and give reasons why you think the decision is wrong.

If you have any evidence to support your appeal, send it to us with your letter.

You may find it helpful to talk to a welfare rights organisation, such as Citizens Advice or the Welfare Rights Service.

What happens after I have made an appeal?

We will look at the decision again if we have not already done this.

If we think the original decision is wrong we will change it and write to let you know. If we decide in your favour, your appeal will stop.

If we think the original decision is wrong but it is not to your advantage for example, the amount of benefit you get remains the same or goes down; your appeal will continue.

We will then put together all the information about the council's decision and send it to the Tribunal Service, when we do this we will also send you a copy.

What happens if my appeal goes to the Tribunal Service?

If your appeal is sent to the Tribunal Service you will be sent a form that you must fill in and return to them within 14 days, otherwise your appeal will stop. The form will ask whether you want a paper or oral hearing for your appeal, and will explain what is involved.

After the tribunal hearing you will be given the tribunal's decision. If the tribunal turn down your appeal you will be given information about what you can do next. If the tribunal accept your appeal the decision will normally be changed.

I have not asked you to look at my claim again or made an appeal within one month - what can I do?

You can ask us to look at your claim again or make an appeal outside the one month time limit if there were reasons why you could not do this at the time. You need to tell us what the reasons are and provide any evidence that you have. We will then consider if you have good enough reason for not having contacted us within the time limit allowed.

If you appeal outside the time limit and we do not consider that you have good reason for doing so we refer your appeal to the Tribunal Service for them to decide whether you appeal can be allowed.

The maximum time limit for submitting an appeal is thirteen months after the decision was made.

Who can make an appeal?

An appeal can be made by:

  • The person who made the claim (the claimant).
  • Someone who is appointed by the courts to act on behalf of the claimant.
  • Someone who we agree can act on behalf of the claimant.
  • A landlord - but only about who benefit may be paid.
  • An agent - but only about who benefit may be paid to.
  • Anyone we ask to pay back an overpayment of benefit.

I have been told I cannot appeal: What can I do?

Some decisions can not be appealed against, for example the government sets the figures that the council must use to assess benefit entitlement. These figures cannot be appealed against.

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