If you disagree with a decision about Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, you have the right to ask for a reconsideration or to appeal.
Before starting a formal appeal, you can ask us for a quick explanation of how we arrived at our decision.
Request a Revision
If you’re not satisfied with our explanation, you can ask us to reconsider our decision. Write requesting a revision to:
Income and Awards, PO Box 8118, Solihull, B91 9WZ
You should do this within 1 calendar month of the original notification letter (in exceptional circumstances we may extend this time limit to no more than 13 months – you will need to explain why you didn’t ask for a revision earlier). We may ask you for further information, which you must provide within 1 month. After reconsidering, we will write to you with our final decision, with details of how to appeal to an independent tribunal if you’re still not satisfied. You can also ask us to explain how we reached our decision (a ‘statement of reasons’). This does not affect your right to appeal.
Making an Appeal
Housing Benefit Appeal:
Your Appeal must be in writing and include the following:
- The name and address of the person making the appeal
- Say what is being appealed
- Must be signed by the person making the appeal
- Must deliver the appeal to the Authority by post or email or person
- Provide the name and address of any representative (if you have one)
- Be within 1 month from the date the disputed decision was sent out by the authority.
You can appeal about ‘any relevant decision’. This includes:
- the amount of benefit awarded
- how a claimant’s income was worked out
- the amount of rent eligible for benefit
- recovery of overpayment
There are some restrictions:
- only the claimant can appeal about how benefit is calculated
- landlords or agents can only appeal about a) a decision to recover overpayment from them or b) a decision not to make payments directly to them
- you cannot appeal against some decisions (mainly administrative ones) – we will let you know if this is the case
- you cannot appeal any claim for Discretionary Housing Payments, as this is a temporary award which is assessed on an individual claim basis
Once we have received your appeal letter, a submission will be prepared and sent to the Tribunal Services with a copy of your appeal letter and the Local Authorities response. A copy of the submission will also be sent to you.
Council Tax Reduction Appeal
An appeal against a Council Tax Reduction decision must be made directly to the Valuation Tribunal within two months from the date the disputed decision was sent out by the authority.
You can also appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal if we have not responded to you within two months of you writing to us about your grievance. You can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal about:
- whether you are entitled to Council Tax Reduction
- how much Council Tax Reduction we have awarded you under our Council Tax Support scheme
The Tribunal cannot hear appeals about what is in the council’s scheme or the decision to award a maximum amount of 85% Council Tax Reduction, only about the way the scheme has been applied in your case. For more information visit www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk or call the Valuation Office on 03000 501501.
Who can appeal?
The law says that ‘any person affected’ can appeal. They could be:
- the claimant (the person claiming the benefits)
- someone appointed by the courts or agreed by us to act on behalf of the claimant
- a landlord or agent – but only in limited circumstances (see below)
- anyone who has been paid too much benefit (‘overpayment’)
About the tribunal
Once the Tribunal receives the submission they will be in contact with you, confirming the date, time and place of the tribunal hearing, which will be held locally. You can choose whether to attend. Usually one legally qualified person hears the case, and sometimes a financially qualified person. A clerk and a council representative may also be there. You will be notified of the outcome in writing.
What if I’m still not happy?
Once a decision has been made by the Appeals Tribunal, if you (or us) are still not happy, the Tribunal Service will provide further details of what to do next.