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I think my Housing Benefit is wrong - appeals

If you have received a decision about Housing Benefit that you think is wrong, ask us to explain it. If you still think it’s wrong after we have explained it to you, we’ll look at our decision again. For some decisions, you can appeal to an independent tribunal. They can change the decision if they agree it’s wrong. There are time limits for asking for decisions to be looked at again and for appealing.

The decision

If you get a decision in writing it is usually because you have:

  • claimed housing benefit
  • had a change of circumstances which affects your benefit
  • been told you have to pay back benefit.

You may be able to ask us to look again at a decision or appeal against it. There are special rules if you are not claiming the benefit yourself. These cover, for example, if you are a landlord and a decision is made about whether housing benefit is to be paid directly to you, or if you are a landlord and a decision is made to recover an overpayment of housing benefit from you.

If you are an ‘appointee’ for another person you can ask us to look again at a decision about their benefit, and you may be able to appeal for them. The letter telling you about the decision will tell you if you can appeal.

Do you want more information about the decision?

Contact us about the decision letter straight away.

If you want us to look at the decision again, or if you want to appeal against it, you must tell us within one month of the date on the decision letter. When you contact us you can ask us to explain the reasons for the decision and put it in writing.

What happens next?

When you ask us to look at a decision again, we will check that the decision is correct. A different member of staff will usually do this. If the decision is wrong we will change it. If the decision can’t be changed, we will tell you and also let you know if you can appeal.

Do you want to appeal against the decision?

To appeal you need to do so in writing within a calendar month of the decision and sign it

Write down the reasons for your appeal. This is important because the tribunal can only look at the things you mention. The Tribunals Service will decide your appeal at a tribunal hearing.

The tribunal is made up of people who are not from the Council. They are experts on the issues involved in your appeal and there will be someone legally qualified to help apply the law to your appeal. The tribunal can only look at the evidence, the law and your circumstances at the time we made the decision you are appealing against. The tribunal cannot look at changes of circumstances that happened after we made the decision.

Late appeals

The Tribunals Service may not be able to accept your appeal if it is late i.e. received more than one month after the date on the decision letter. They can only accept a late appeal if there are special circumstances that caused the delay. These could include a death, a serious illness, being abroad or a postal strike. Your appeal cannot be accepted if you appeal 13 months or more after the date on the decision letter.