Benefit appeals

If you disagree with our decision about your Housing Benefit you can:

  • Ask us to explain the decision
  • Ask us to revise (change) the decision
  • Appeal against the decision.

If you wish to appeal against the decision we have made, you must do so in writing within one calendar month of the date we notified you of the decision.

You must also state why you think the decision is wrong, whenever you ask us to explain our decision, or to revise it, we will check all parts of the claim and advise you of how we came to the decision.

In doing so, if we find anything wrong with the decision we made, we will write to you with the decision and your right of appeal will start again.

When you ask us to look at a decision again, we will check that the decision is correct, a different member of staff will usually do this If the decision is wrong we will change it.

If we do not change the decision in your favour we send the case to the Appeals Service which is an independent body who will look at each individual appeal in an impartial manner.

There are special rules if you are not claiming the benefit yourself, For example, if you are a landlord and a decision is made about whether Housing Benefit is to be paid directly to you or if you are a landlord and a decision is made to recover overpayment of Housing Benefit from you.

If you are an appointee for another person you can ask us to look again at a decision about their benefit and you may be able to appeal for them. The letter telling you about the decision will tell you if you can appeal.

An appointee is someone appointed by us to act for a person who cannot act for themselves.

What the tribunal looks at

The tribunal can only look at the evidence, the law and the circumstances at the time we made the decision you are appealing against. The tribunal cannot look at changes of circumstances that happened after we made the decision.

If a change of circumstances could affect your benefit or mean you could claim again, you should report it straight away. Do not wait for the appeal hearing. Contact us using the details shown on your decision letter.

Late appeals

The Appeals Service may not be able to accept your appeal if it is received more than one month after the date on the decision letter. They can only accept a late appeal if there are special circumstances that caused the
delay. These could be a death, a serious illness, absence abroad, a postal strike or some other special circumstance. You should include an explanation of why you could not appeal within one month on the form at the back of this leaflet. A legally qualified tribunal member will look at the reasons you have given for not appealing in time and will decide if your appeal can be accepted. They will look at:

  • whether there were special circumstances for the delay

  • the length of time since you received the decision

  • whether it is the interests of justice that your appeal is accepted, and

  • whether your appeal is reasonably likely to succeed.

The Appeals Service cannot accept a late appeal if the only reason is that you misunderstood the law, or interpretation of the law has changed since the decision was made. Your appeal cannot be accepted if you appeal 13 months or more after the date on the decision letter.

Types of hearing


This is an appeal hearing which you can go to. The tribunal may ask you questions, You can ask questions, You can take someone with you to represent you, You can call witnesses to give, evidence to the tribunal, One of our representatives may be at the hearing. They may ask you questions and call witnesses.

If you choose an oral hearing but find you cannot go, you must let the Appeals Service know straight away. You must have a good reason why you cannot go, such as illness. You may be able to arrange another date. If you do not let the Appeals Service know you cannot go to the hearing, the tribunal may hear your appeal without you.

Oral hearings are usually open to the public, but anyone who goes to the hearing will usually be involved in the appeal. You can ask to have your appeal heard in private.


This is an appeal hearing which you do not go to. If you go to an oral hearing, you will be able to deal with any questions or issues that arise. You should use the form we will send you with the appeal papers to add any more information which you think will help your case. Do not delay sending information as you will not be told the date of a paper hearing, The appeal will be heard and the Appeals Service will send you the decision. If the tribunal think they need you to go to an oral hearing they can refuse your request for a paper hearing. If you choose a paper hearing but change your mind, you can choose to have an oral hearing. Write to the Appeals Service straight away.

The Result

Whether you have an oral or paper hearing you will be given a decision notice explaining the tribunal’s decision as soon as possible after the appeal hearing. A copy will be sent to the office that made the original decision. You can also ask for a statement of reasons. This gives an explanation of the tribunal’s decision including the facts and the law used. You must ask for a statement of reasons within one month of the date you are given or sent the decision notice. You must have a copy of the statement of reasons if you appeal to the Social Security Commissioners.

If your appeal is successful, we will usually put the decision right as soon as we receive our copy of the tribunal’s decision. We may not put it right straight away if we appeal to the Social Security Commissioners.

If you disagree with the tribunals decision

If you do not agree with the appeal tribunal’s decision you may be able to appeal to the Social Security Commissioners. They are independent of both the Department of Social Security and the Local Authority.

Appeals can be made by anyone who has already appealed to the Appeals Service, the Local Authority or the Department of Social Security. 

You can only appeal to the Commissioners on a point of law.

The decision letter from the Appeals Service will tell you what to do if you are not satisfied with there decision. Please read this carefully. It tells you important time limits for an appeal. You cannot appeal unless you first get the statement of reasons for the tribunals decision.

Should you wish to submit an appeal against a decision made for Housing Benefit please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an appeal form.

Council Tax Support Appeals

If you disagree with a Council Tax Support decision, you can ask us to look at this decision again. You will need to do this in writing within two calendar months of date of our decision.

When we have looked at it again we will notify you of our decision.  If you still disagree, you have the right to make an appeal to an independent body, the Valuation Tribunal.  You will need to fill in an appeal form. You can do this on the Valuation Tribunal website you must send this appeal to the Tribunal within two months of the date of your letter.