If you have received a decision about your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction and think it is wrong, you can ask us to review it again.
Housing Benefit appeals
What are the options for getting a decision changed?
You have three options.
- Write to us and ask for the decision to be looked at again (a revision request).
- Write to us and ask for a statement of reasons.
- Appeal to an independent tribunal administered by the Tribunal Service.
Who can submit an appeal?
A request for a revision or appeal can only be made by a person affected by the decision.
- The claimant.
- A nominated appointee such as a solicitor or Citizens Advice, or individual with power of attorney to act on the claimant's 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.
What happens next?
Once we have received your letter we will look into your appeal. This will not be done by the same person who made the original decision. Your claim will be checked thoroughly and any more information you have given in your letter will be taken into account.
If you asked us to look at the decision again within one calendar month, or you had special circumstances that meant that the council accepted your late request (revision request), we will change the decision from the date of the original decision. A new decision notice will then be issued to you.
If the decision cannot be changed, we will send you an explanatory letter. The letter will confirm the original decision and explain reasons for that decision. It will also tell you if you can appeal against the original decision. If so, the one-month time limit starts again from the date of the letter confirming the unchanged decision.
You have the right to appeal against the decision within one calendar month of the receipt of our letter. Again, this must be done in writing. If you choose to appeal the decision and we are still unable to change the decision in your favour, your appeal will be forwarded to an independent tribunal (Tribunal Service) to decide your case. In certain circumstances, the time frame for appealing can be increased to up to 13 months.
Appeals that go to the Tribunal Service
We will prepare your appeal and send it to the Tribunal Service. This service is independent and impartial. We aim to submit all Tribunal Service appeals within 90 days.
If the tribunal service accepts 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 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 legal advice.
Council Tax Reduction appeals
What are options for getting a decision changed?
Your Council Tax Reduction letter will tell you how we have worked out your support, how much support you will receive or the reasons why you do not qualify for this support.
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 (a revision).
What happens next?
When you ask for a revision, another officer will look at the claim. We will then let you know in writing whether we have changed the decision or whether it will stay the same. If we decide that our original decision was correct, you still have the right to appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal. This is an independent service.
Appeals that go the Valuation Tribunal
If your first appeal to us was unsuccessful you have the option of going to the Valuation Tribunal. This request must be sent in writing to us within two months of the original decision being upheld. A late appeal may be allowed but only for reasons beyond your control.
In the unlikely event that we don’t respond to this request within two months, you can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal at the address below as long as this is done within four months. You must have proof of receipt and a copy of the original letter to prove to the Valuation Tribunal that you asked us to look at the decision again.
2 Trafford Court
Tel: 0300 123 1033
What can the Valuation Tribunal decide?
The Valuation Tribunal can deal with appeals against:
- the start or end date of your claim
- the amount of income/savings we used to work our your benefit
- the number of people we have included on your claim
- the amount we say we have overpaid you.
You can’t appeal against decisions involving a rule that is laid down in our Council Tax Support scheme, only about how it has been applied to your individual case. The Valuation Tribunal will tell you if they consider your appeal to be out of their authority and control.