Dispute a benefit decision
Disputes and Appeals of Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support and Discretionary Housing Payment decisions
If you disagree with any of the decisions made or if you don’t understand it, you can ask for an explanation or request for the decision to be looked at again within one month of the decision being made.
If you would like to report a change in your circumstances, please log into My Account.
Check your benefit decision is correct
Every time we make a decision on your Housing Benefit we will send you a notification decision letter. This will tell you the periods your Housing Benefit covers, how it is worked out, and what income we have used. You must read this decision letter to make sure all details are correct.
You can also see information about your entitlement by logging into My Account. selecting “Housing Benefit” and then “View Account”
If you don't understand the decision
You can ask us to either explain our decision verbally or to provide you with a statement of reasons in writing. This must be requested within one month of when you were notified of your Housing Benefit decision.
Once you have received a statement of reasons, you then have a further 14 days to ask us to review our decision, or to request an appeal of your Housing Benefit.
If you think our decision is wrong
If you feel our decision is wrong, you can either:
- ask us to look at our decision again – known as a reconsideration
- appeal against our decision to the Independent Tribunal Service
Please Note: A request for a revision or appeal can only be made by a person affected by the decision. This is usually:
- the claimant
- an appointee or individual with power of attorney to act on the claimants behalf
- a landlord or agent - but only regarding who the Housing Benefit is paid to
- anyone whom we decide to recover a Housing Benefit overpayment from
If you think we have made a mistake, or you have information and evidence which you believe will change our decision, you have the right at any time to ask us to look again at our initial decision. This is known as a reconsideration.
Your request should include the reasons why you feel our decision is wrong and also any additional evidence you want to submit with your dispute. Failure to do this will result in no changes being made to your claim. Once a request for a reconsideration has been received, we will look at the claim again.
After reconsidering the decision, we will advise you in writing whether the decision has been changed or if it will stay the same. If we uphold our original decision, you have a further month to request an appeal to the Independent Tribunal Service.
Your Housing Benefit appeal must be made within one month of the date you are notified of our initial decision.
The appeal must say the reasons why you believe the decision is wrong and also include any additional evidence you want to submit with your dispute.
If you decide to provide a handwritten appeal, it must be signed by the person making the appeal.
If you didn't ask for a revision or appeal within the one month time limit
You can ask to extend the limit for a revision or appeal of a decision up to a maximum of 13 months. You will need to explain in writing why you did not apply earlier, including any special circumstances and providing evidence of which prevented you from responding within the time limit.
We may extend the time for an appeal if it is in the interest of justice to do so. In all cases the reasons must have meant it was not practical to have made the Housing Benefit appeal within the deadline. When considering whether an appeal can be accepted as late we will look at factors such as:
- whether the applicant, partner or dependant of the applicant has died or suffered serious illness
- post services were disrupted
- some other exceptional special circumstance which is relevant to the applicant.
What happens next?
The appeal will be prepared by the Council and sent to the Tribunal Service who are independent of the Council and impartial.
If the tribunal service accept your appeal, they will write to you notifying you of the date and time of the hearing. You will be given the choice of whether you want to attend the hearing and speak, or if you want the tribunal to look at the case in your absence.
At the tribunal hearing a judge will examine the facts and apply the facts to the law, and come to a decision. Occasionally other specialist panel members may be present, if the judge feels they need an expert (for example a qualified accountant) to help them understand the evidence.
If you disagree with the tribunals decision it may be possible to take the case to an upper tier tribunal but only if the tribunal made an error of law.
Before making an appeal it is recommended that you seek advice from an independent advice agency.