This section explains what you can do if you do not understand a decision we have made, or think it is wrong. If you do not understand the decision, please write to us within one month of the date the decision was made. We will write back to you explaining why we made the decision and what you can do if you disagree with the decision
If you disagree with the decision, you can challenge it. Different rules apply to disputes and appeals for the following decisions.
Council Tax Reduction or Discretionary Payments to help with Council Tax - Appeals Process
Please complete an appeal form [PDF 583 KB] or write to us within one month of the date of decision notice. We will look at the decision again and will write to you to explain what we have decided. If we cannot change the decision you will have the right to appeal to an independent body called 'The Valuation Tribunal Service'. Details of how to appeal will be sent with our response.
Discretionary Housing Payments - Appeals Process
Please complete an appeal form [PDF 583 KB] or write to us within one month of the date of decision notice. We will look at the decision again and will write to you to explain what we have decided and what you can do if you disagree.
Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit - Appeals Process
- Tell us which decision you disagree with
- Tell us why you think it is wrong
Give us evidence to support any statements you make (unless you have already given this to us). For example, if you think we have worked out your earnings incorrectly please give us evidence of your correct earnings. If you have already provided this, you do not need to give it to us again.
If the decision you disagree with relates to an overpayment we will, wherever possible, put any further recovery action on hold whilst we deal with your case.
When we have looked at the decision again, we will write to you to explain what we have decided. If we cannot change the decision you will have the right to appeal to an independent body called HM Courts & Tribunal Service. More information about the process of appealing a decision through HM Courts & Tribunal Service can be found by clicking here.
Who can ask for a reconsideration or appeal?
The people who can ask for a reconsideration or appeal are:
- the claimant
- someone who the claimant has nominated to act on their behalf
- someone who we decide can be held responsible for paying back an overpayment
- landlords/ landlord’s agents if the decision is that we cannot pay the tenant’s benefit to you
If you are acting on a claimant’s behalf, we must have signed authority for you to do so.
Making an Appeal to HM Courts & Tribunal Service
Appeals against decisions about Housing and Council Tax Benefit are heard by an independent body called HM Courts & Tribunal Service.
Once we have received your request for the decision to be submitted for an independent hearing, your case will be passed to an Appeals Officer. Your case will then be prepared by the Council and submitted to HM Courts & Tribunals Service for consideration. They will contact you directly from this point onwards. Once your appeal is accepted it will be listed for an independent hearing. They will write to you advising of the date, time and place of your hearing. You will also be asked if you wish to attend or whether you would prefer the Tribunal to consider your case without being present.
The Tribunal will usually be made up of one or two panel members, none of whom has any connection with the local authority or the DWP, and who will be experts on the issues involved with the appeal. At least one will be a Judge.
If you disagree with the decision of the Tribunal, you may be able to appeal to the Upper Tribunal. A legally qualified tribunal member will decide if your appeal can be sent to the Upper Tribunal, or if another Tribunal should look at the appeal again.
The Upper Tier Tribunal comprises of Judges and expert members, who are appointed by the Judicial Appointments Commission. They are also independent of both the Department for Work and Pensions and all local councils. See the Upper Tribunals Web site for more information.
Help with making an appeal
You can ask an advice centre, solicitor or another suitable person or organisation to help with your application. You are advised to check whether financial support is available to help with your appeal before committing yourself to legal expenses which you may be unable to meet.
Advice centres like the Citizens Advice Bureau and law centres can represent you and help you understand the reasons for benefit decisions. They can sometimes go with you to the tribunal that hears your appeal.