Disputing decisions

You can ask us to revise our decision about housing benefit or council tax support, or appeal against the decision to an independent appeal tribunal.

This means that we will take another look at your benefit claim and we will make sure that it has been done correctly.

How it works

When you are given the result of your initial claim, you can ask for more information about the decision. We will give you an explanation, over the phone or in writing. If you not happy with the explanation, you can ask us to revise the decision, or you can appeal against it.

Only the person making the claim – or someone legally acting on their behalf - can ask for it to be revised or go to appeal, except in cases where a landlord or agent asks for a revision of a decision about:

  • the payment of housing benefit directly to them, or
  • the recovery of an overpayment from them

Benefits disputes form

Why should I ask for a decision to be revised?

Examples why you may ask us to revise our decision are that you believe we have incorrectly calculated:

  • the amount of benefit payable
  • the rent used to work out housing benefit
  • your income
  • the recovery of an overpayment

This is not an exhaustive list. However, some decisions do not carry a right of appeal. You will be notified if the matter you are disputing does not carry such a right.

Challenging a decision

You can ask us to revise our decision, or you can request to go straight to the appeals process. If you have already had a revision request turned down, you can still go to appeal. An appeal means that a tribunal, independent of the council will consider the council's decision.

To dispute a decision, you must write to us within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter. Any time we take providing our explanation about the decision to you will be added to the one month.

In exceptional circumstances, we will allow more time. You need to write to us and explain why the request is late. We will not consider a dispute where 13 months have passed since the decision notice was first issued.

What happens after a request for a revision?

After reconsidering the initial decision, we will write to you stating that the decision has been changed or that it will stay the same. We may request further information from you before we make a final decision. You must provide the information within one month of the request.

What happens if I request an appeal?

For housing benefit decisions, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal’s Service will write to you to tell you the date, time and place of the hearing. This will be local and you will also be asked if you want to attend. Your appeal can be considered without you being present if you prefer.

In most cases the tribunal panel will be made up of one legally qualified person, known as the tribunal judge. However, up to two more tribunal members can be present if the case requires expertise in a particular field. A tribunal clerk and a council representative may also be present.

Appeals about Local Council Tax Support, are made directly to the Valuation Tribunal on 03001232035

Before you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal, you need to have written to the council explaining what you disagree with in our decision about your council tax reduction.

You can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal against the council’s decision about:

  • whether you are entitled to a Council Tax reduction
  • how much council tax reduction the council has awarded you under the local scheme

The tribunal cannot hear appeals about the council’s scheme itself, only about the way the scheme has been applied to your case.

What if I am not happy with the tribunal's decision?

If you think the decision of the tribunal is wrong in law, you can appeal to the Upper Tribunal. Details for doing this are given with the decision of the first tribunal.

Please note that this option is also available to the council if we feel we need to challenge the decision.

Further information

If you have any further questions regarding appeals, please contact us:

Last updated: 22 February 2018 11:01:20