If we have made a decision about your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support that you do not agree with, you, or any person affected (see below), can formally dispute this.
- ask us to revise our decision or
- appeal against our decision to an independent appeal tribunal.
You can dispute any matter concerning a claim for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support, for example:
- the amount of benefit payable
- the rent eligible for benefit
- the calculation of your income
- the calculation and recovery of an overpayment
Who is a person affected?
- You, as a claimant
- Someone acting on behalf of you who is appointed by the courts
- Someone who we agree is appointed to act on your behalf
- A landlord - but only in matters relating to whom payment of benefit is to be made
- An agent - but only in matters relating to whom payment of benefit is to be made
- Any person from whom, it is determined, an overpayment is to be recovered.
This means only you as a claimant can dispute a decision concerning the calculation of your entitlement, and the landlord or agent can only ask us to revise a decision about whether payment should be made to a landlord and whether the decision to recover an overpayment from a landlord or agent has been correctly made.
Please note: If we reduce a tenant's benefit to recover an overpayment in respect of a previous address, the current landlord cannot appeal against the decision to recover that overpayment.
What should I do if I am not satisfied with your decision?
You can ask for further information about our decision and we will give you an explanation, sometimes over the phone. If you still disagree with the decision, you can appeal or ask for a revision of our decision.
How do I ask for a revision?
You must write to us within month of the date on the notification letter.
In exceptional circumstances we will extend the time limit on this, but you must write to us giving us the reasons why you did not ask for a revision at the appropriate time.
We will not consider a request for a revision if this is made 13 months or more after the decision notice was first issued.
To ask for a revision you must write to the benefits section clearly setting out the date of the decision you disagree with, and reasons you believe an error has been made.
How will I know the outcome of a request for a revision?
We will write to you, telling you whether the decision has been changed or if it will stay the same. We may ask for further information before making a final decision and you must provide the information within one month of the request for it to be taken into consideration
What is a statement of reasons?
You can ask us to provide a written statement of reasons. A statement of reasons does not affect your right of an appeal. The statement will explain how we reached our decision. The time it takes for us to provide a statement may extend the time limit for requesting a revision or seeking an appeal to the tribunal.
How can I ask an appeal tribunal to look at your decision?
A person affected by a decision may request the appeals tribunal to consider our decision. The request must be in writing and must be received by us within one month of the date on the decision notification letter.
If you have already asked us to revise our decision, and we have responded to that, you have one month from the date of our response to ask for your case to be considered by the appeals tribunal.
To appeal a decision, you must write to the benefits section clearly setting out the date of the decision you disagree with, and reasons you believe an error has been made.
In exceptional circumstances the time limit for requesting an appeal can be extended. You must write to us giving the reasons as to why you could not appeal before.
We will not consider a request for a revision if this is made 13 months or more after the decision notice was first issued
Will I have to attend the tribunal?
The Tribunals Service will write to you to tell you of the date, time and place of your hearing and will ask you if you want to attend or whether you would prefer the tribunal to consider the case in your absence. This is called a paper hearing.
In most cases the tribunal will consist of only one panel member who is a legally qualified person. If, however, complicated financial matters are to be considered, a financially qualified person will also be present. The clerk to the tribunal and a council representative may also be present.
What if I am not happy with the tribunal's decision?
If you, or the council, feels the decision of the appeal tribunal is wrong in law, they can seek leave to appeal to the Social Security Commissioners.
Council Tax Support appeals
If you disagree with a decision made in relation to the amount of Council Tax Support you have been awarded, you can ask us to look at the decision again or you can submit a formal appeal. Unlike Housing and Council Tax Benefit, there is technically no time limit on when you can make an appeal, although it would be helpful if you could do this within one month of the date you are notified of your entitlement. We will then write to you to let you know if our decision was correct. If you still disagree with the decision, you will need to appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal Agency within four months of the date you first raised the issue with ourselves. Details about the Council Tax Support appeal process and how it works in practice are available from the Valuation Tribunal website. Please note that the tribunal cannot consider appeals about the Council Tax Support scheme the council had adopted, only the way the scheme has been applied to your individual case.