What to do if you think the decision about your housing benefit is wrong
When we have dealt with your claim for housing benefit we will send you a benefit decision letter.
This letter will show the information that we have used to work out your benefit. You should check this letter carefully. You need to know what to do if you think it is wrong. Use the links below to find out more.
I don't understand the decision and need it explained
- You should contact us to ask for an explanation of the decision we have made
- Ask for this explanation as soon as you receive your decision letter
- You should get in touch with us by phone; letter; email; or by visiting our offices
- It is important that you do this within one month of the date of the decision letter
What should I do if I do not agree with the decision or think it is wrong?
- You can ask us to look at it again, or
- You can appeal and have your claim considered by an independent Tribunal
It is important that you make it clear whether you are asking us to look at the decision again or whether you wish your request to be accepted as an appeal straight to an Independent Tribunal.
- You must make your request in writing
- It must be made within one month of the date on your decision letter
- If there are reasons why you cannot write to us in that first month, you must contact us and explain why
What happens when we look at the decision again
- The decision we made will be looked at and checked by an Appeals team officer
- We will take into consideration what you have told us. We may even contact you to ask for more information
- If the decision is wrong, we will change it
- We may change the decision and pay you more benefit
- We may change the decision and pay you less benefit
- We will write to you and let you know what we have decided
- If we decide not to change the decision, as we think it is correct, we will send you a letter explaining why
- We will always explain what you should do if you are still unhappy
You can appeal against the decision we have made and ask us to pass your case to an independent tribunal. This is run by the Tribunal Service. You can choose to appeal to a Tribunal after we have looked at the decision again and sent a letter to you explaining our reasons or immediately after you receive a decision notice from us.
For an appeal to a Tribunal, you should
- Make your appeal in writing
- Make sure it is signed by you, even if the appeal is being made by a representative on your behalf, and
- Make the appeal within one month of the date on your decision letter
You must always give details of the decision that you wish to appeal against and explain why you think it is wrong.
It is not acceptable to say "I do not agree with the decision" or "the amount of benefit I have been awarded is not enough"
You need to say why and give facts. Sometimes it will be helpful to support your appeal with evidence.
You must send the appeal to the Appeals team at the office shown on your decision letter.
What happens when you appeal
- We will check your claim again
- If we change the decision we will write and tell you and explain what you can do next
- If the decision is not going to be changed, we will send your appeal to the Tribunal Service
- A copy of the appeal, which is sent to the Tribunal Service, will be sent to you. An explanation of the facts that we used when making our decision will be included
- The Tribunal Service will ask you to complete a form, called a TAS1, which must be returned to them within 14 days
- You can have a representative or friend present if you wish
The Tribunal Service appeal
- The Tribunal panel is made up of people who are independent to us
- It is your opportunity to present your case to the Tribunal
- It is very important that you give the reasons why you are appealing because the Tribunal does not have to look at anything that you do not mention in your appeal
- The Tribunal can only look at the evidence, the law, and the circumstances at the time the decision was first made
- The Tribunal Service will make a decision at the Tribunal hearing and will tell you its decision in writing
- If your appeal was late, the Tribunal may not be able to accept it. They will consider whether they can accept it or not so you must explain why it is late
I want to withdraw my appeal
If we have not yet sent your appeal to the Tribunal Service you must write to us and tell us that you want to stop your appeal.
If your appeal has been sent to the Tribunal service you must write to them to ask them to stop your appeal. The TAS1 form has a section on it where you can put that you want to withdraw your appeal, should you decide to do so.
Where can I get independent help or advice?
Advice centres and law centres can represent you and help you to understand the reasons for the decisions about your Housing and/or Council Tax Benefit.
You can ask if they will go with you to the Tribunal which hears your appeal.
You may be able to get help from a solicitor but you need to check what help you can get as you cannot get any money for solicitors fees from us or the Tribunal Services.
- Nottingham Law Centre - 0115 978 7813
- Bestwood Advice Centre - 0115 962 6519
- St Anns Advice group - 0115 950 6867
- Bulwell Advice Centre - 0115 915 1500
- Citizens Advice Bureau - 0115 938 8050
- Welfare Rights - 0115 915 1355
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