If you don't agree with a decision we've made about your housing benefit or council tax support you can ask us to look at your claim again.
When we receive your application for housing benefit or council tax support we’ll write to you with a decision about your claim.
We’ll also write to you if:
- you’ve been overpaid housing benefit
- we have adjusted your council tax support
- your claim for housing benefit or council tax support ends
- your circumstances have changed whilst you’re claiming.
You should always check the letters that we send, to make sure that all of the details are correct. If you think that we’ve made a mistake you need to tell us straight away.
If you need us to explain a decision
You can ask us to explain how we’ve worked out your housing benefit or council tax support and the reasons for our decision. We can talk through the decision with you.
If you want us to explain a housing benefit decision in more detail you can ask for a written statement of reasons within one month of the decision being made. Asking us to provide a statement of reasons doesn’t count towards the time limit for an appeal.
Asking us to look at a decision again
If you don’t agree with a decision we’ve made about your housing benefit or council tax support you can ask us to look at your claim again. We have an online form that you should use to dispute a decision.
A different officer will check your claim and we’ll write to tell you if the decision was correct, or if we’ve changed it.
If you don’t agree with this you’ll have one month from the date of this letter to appeal a housing benefit decision. For a council tax support decision you’ll have two months to appeal.
Who can appeal?
Appeals against a housing benefit or council tax support decision can be made by:
- the person who made the claim
- someone who has the authority to act on their behalf
- someone who has been appointed by the courts
- a landlord (for housing benefit appeals only). If you're a landlord you can only appeal against an overpayment decision or dispute a decision about direct payments to them.
Making an appeal
Housing benefit and council tax support have different appeals processes and timelines.
How to appeal a housing benefit decision
You’ll need to fill in our dispute a decision form within one month of your decision letter, or within one month of your second decision letter if you’ve asked us to look at your claim again.
We’ll look at the decision again if we haven’t already done so.
If we think the original decision was wrong, and we change it in your favour, we’ll write to let you know. This will stop your appeal. If you disagree with the new decision you can fill in our dispute a decision form to start the process again.
If we think the original decision was wrong, but it’s not to your advantage because your benefit has stayed the same or gone down, your appeal will continue.
We’ll then send your information to the independent tribunal service for housing benefit appeals.
If you’re appealing after one month from the date of your letter you’ll need to have good reason for this and provide evidence. We’ll ask the tribunal service if they are willing to accept your appeal based on the evidence you’ve provided. The maximum time limit for submitting an appeal is 13 months.
If your appeal goes to the Housing Benefit Tribunal Service
The Tribunal Service is independent of the council. They will send you a form that you’ll need to fill in and return to them within 14 days. If you don’t do this your appeal will stop. There will be a tribunal hearing and you can choose whether you want to attend, or if you want them to deal with your paperwork.
The Tribunal Service will write to you after the appeal hearing with their decision. If your appeal has been turned down they’ll tell you what you can do next.
How to appeal a council tax support decision
You’ll need to fill in our dispute a decision form to ask us to look at your claim again. We will write to you within two months of receiving your form.
If you disagree with our decision, or you haven’t heard from us within two months, you can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal by filling in a tribunal appeal form on their website. The Tribunal Service is independent of the council.
The Tribunal Service will arrange a hearing. You can choose to attend or ask them to deal with your paperwork on your behalf.
The Tribunal Service will write to you after the hearing with their decision and they’ll tell you what you can do next, if your appeal has been turned down.