Monday 13th July 2020
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Benefits disputes and appeals

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Benefits disputes and appeals

This page relates to disputes and appeals for benefits that we provide only, ie housing benefit and council tax reduction.

​For all other benefits, eg Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit, visit GOV.UK for advice.

If you do not understand a decision or think that the decision is wrong

Once we process your claim, we'll send you an award notification which tells you:
  • the date from which we have processed the claim
  • how we worked out your claim
  • what your entitlement is
You must check your award notification to ensure that all details are correct.
 
If you don't understand the decision or if you disagree with it, the person affected by the decision has several options available to them.

What do you mean by a 'person affected' by a decision?

You are a person affected by a decision if you are:
  • the benefit claimant 
  • an appointee or someone with power of attorney to act on behalf of the claimant
  • a landlord or agent – only if the dispute relates to who the housing benefit is paid to 
  • anyone whom we decide to recover a housing benefit overpayment from

Your options

Advice from our customer service centre - call us on 0300 790 0345

This is the quickest way to ask for an explanation of a decision that has been made. A friendly and experienced advisor will be happy to explain the decision to you over the telephone.
 
If you still don't agree with the decision you can ask for:
  • written statement of reasons
  • reconsideration / look at the decision again
  • appeal at an independent tribunal

Written statement of reasons

This statement will give you:
  • written details and reasons for the decision
  • confirmation of the supporting information used to make the decision
  • the regulations we applied when making the decision
If you aren't satisfied with the reasons given and disagree with the decisions, you can ask for us to reconsider or look at the decision again.
 
Written statement time limits
  • Housing benefit decision - to request a written statement of reasons for a housing benefit decisions, you must apply within one month from the date of the original decision
  • Council tax reduction decision - there is no time limit to request a written statement of reasons for a council tax reduction decision
Please note: time limits can be extended under special circumstances. If there is a delay in making a request, you must provide supporting evidence of the special circumstances.

Reconsideration or look at the decision again

We can look at our decision again and decide whether to change the disputed decision. We may ask you to provide further evidence or information in order to come to a determination.
 
A response will be sent to you confirming whether we have changed the disputed decision and, if we have, then confirmation of what has been changed.
 
Reconsideration time limits
  • Housing benefit decision - to request consideration for a housing benefit decisions, you must apply within one month from the date of the original decision
  • Council tax reduction decision - there is no time limit to request reconsideration for a council tax reduction decision
Please note: time limits can be extended under special circumstances. If there is a delay in making a request, you must provide supporting evidence of the special circumstances.

How to apply

Use our online form below to apply for the following:
  • housing benefit and / or council tax reduction written statement of reasons
  • housing benefit and / or council tax reduction reconsideration
Your application must:
  • be made in writing and include your full name, address and claim reference number
  • be signed by the person affected by the decision
  • state the date of the decision that you do not understand or dispute
  • state what elements of the decision you would like clarified or that you dispute and why
  • provide evidence where applicable to support your dispute

What to expect

We will endeavour to send you a response within two months of receiving your request.
 
Having received a response to your request for a housing benefit and / or council tax reduction statement of reasons or reconsideration, if you remain unhappy with the decision as it was not in your favour, you have:
  • one further month to make a housing benefit appeal with us
  • two further months to make a council tax reduction appeal directly with the Valuation Tribunal

Appeals

Housing benefit appeal

Your application must:
  • be made in writing and include your full name, address and claim reference number
  • be signed by the person affected by the decision
  • state the date of the decision that you do not understand or dispute
  • state what elements of the decision you would like clarified or that you dispute and why
  • provide evidence where applicable to support your dispute
  • provide the name address of your representative (if applicable) and confirm where you would like correspondence relating to your appeal to be sent
We will endeavour to prepare your case for tribunal as soon as possible after receipt.
 
Thereafter, the case is no longer in our hands, but dealt with by the tribunal services. These are managed by Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS). For more information please visit the HMCTS website.
 
The whole appeal process usually takes between six and 12 months.

Council tax reduction appeal

Send your application direct to:
    Valuation Tribunal
    Hepworth House
    2 Trafford Court
    Doncaster
    DN1 1PN
 
Your application must:
  • be made in writing and include your full name, address and claim reference number
  • be signed by the person affected by the decision
  • state the date of the decision that you do not understand or dispute
  • state what elements of the decision you would like clarified or that you dispute and why
  • provide evidence where applicable to support your dispute
  • provide the name address of your representative (if applicable) and confirm where you would like correspondence relating to your appeal to be sent
Thereafter, the case is no longer in our hands, but dealt with by the valuation tribunal. For more information please visit the Valuation Tribunal website.
 
The whole appeal process usually takes between six and 12 months.
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