If you think there is a mistake with your benefits
If you believe there has been a mistake with your benefit award please do contact us immediately:
If you phone we can explain your benefit to you.
These enquiries are not part of any appeals process and do not extend the time limits that apply to your appeal options.
If you are still not happy with your benefit award, you can follow the appeals process outlined below.
Request a written explanation
You must write to us within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter to ask for more information on how your benefit was worked out.
If you ask for a written explanation, it will extend the time allowed to take up other appeal options by the number of days it takes us to reply.
Ask for your case to be reconsidered
You must put this request in writing and state why you do not agree with the benefit award. This must be done within one calendar month of the date on the original decision letter or within the "written explanation letter extended deadline" (see above).
If you are out of time to ask for a reconsideration, we will only review the decision if there is a good reason for the delay.
We aim to deal with your request within 10 working days and will write to you to tell you the outcome.
If your benefit is changed in your favour, you will get a new benefit decision letter and the appeals process starts again.
If your benefit is unchanged or is not in your favour you can appeal to the Independent Tribunal.
Ask for an appeal to an independent tribunal
Please request your appeal in writing within one calendar month of the date on the original decision letter or the outcome of your case being reconsidered.
What you need to include in the letter
- include the decision you disagree with and give your reasons
- sign the letter and include your name and address in it.
Where to send it
What happens next
At this point we must reconsider your claim. If we change our decision we will write to you with our decision and will not forward your letter to the Tribunals Service.
If we do not change our decision, we will forward your letter to the Tribunals Service, which will send you a pre-hearing enquiry form. You must complete and return this to the Tribunals Service within 14 days from the date on the covering letter.
Once the Tribunals Service receive your completed pre-hearing enquiry form, they will decide whether to hold a hearing and advise you of the hearing date, which is usually at least 14 weeks after your appeal is lodged.
In exceptional cases a late appeal can be made, in writing, explaining the reason for the delay, but never more than 13 months after the original decision. The Tribunals Service decides whether to accept the appeal or not.
You will usually be given the chairperson's decision at the end of the tribunal and the decision will be sent to you by post. If you still disagree, you will be told whether you have any further right of appeal. Details of this will be in the decision letter.
Council Tax Support appeals
If you are unhappy with the reduction to your council tax you can follow the steps outlined below.
Ask for an explanation of our decision
If you disagree with our decision regarding Council Tax Support you can ask us to explain our decision in more detail. You can write to us requesting a written explanation of all or any part of the assessment. You must do this within one calendar month of the date on the original decision letter.
Challenge the decision
If you want to challenge a decision affecting your Council Tax Support, write to our benefits team explaining why you think it is wrong. You can challenge our decision regarding your entitlement to Council Tax Support or the amount of the reduction. This must be done within one calendar month of the date on the original decision letter. We will review your claim and write to you with our decision.
Appeal to the Valuation Tribunal
If we do not respond or you are not happy with our decision, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal within two months of our decision. Complete the Valuation Tribunal appeal form carefully following the instructions on it and submit it online.
For more information on the appeal process and what to expect visit the Valuation Tribunal's appeal process.
Help and advice
Free independent advice is also available from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can call their advice line on 0344 848 7969.