Housing Benefit disputes and appeals

Check your benefit is correct

When we make a decision about your Housing Benefit entitlement that changes your award, we will send you a notification decision letter. 

This letter will tell you the periods your Housing Benefit covers and how it is worked out. It will include details about the income and rent amounts we have used, other people in your household and what, if any deductions, have been applied. You should check the letter carefully. 

If any of the information is wrong, missing or you are unsure about it, you should contact us as soon as possible. 

  • ask for a detailed written explanation (called a statement of reasons)
  • ask us to look at the decision again
  • appeal the decision and ask for it to be looked at by the tribunals service

You or someone authorised to act on your behalf, must do this in writing within 1 month of the date of your entitlement letter. 

If you do not contact us within 1 month, we may not be able to consider your dispute. 

 

 

Within a month of you being notified of the decision you can ask us to either explain our decision verbally or provide you an explanation in writing.

If you ask for a written statement, we will provide more detailed information about the decision. You have a further month from the date we reply to ask us to look at the decision again or to appeal to a Tribunal. 

 

If you think we have made a mistake, or you have information or evidence that you think will change our decision, you can ask us to look at it again. 

We will look at the decision again and advise you, in writing, whether it has been changed or will stay the same. 

If the decision is not changed in your favour, you have a further month from the date we reply to appeal against the decision. 

 

If you appeal we will look at the decision again. If it is changed in your favour you will be told of the new decision. If we do not change our decision your appeal will be sent tot he Tribunals Service and we will let you know that we have done this. 

 

An explanation or a dispute of a decision can only be made by a person affected by the decision. This is:

  • The person claiming Housing Benefit
  • Someone appointed by the claimant or someone with power of attorney to act on their behalf
  • The landlord or agent, but only regarding who the Housing Benefit is paid to or the recovery of a Housing Benefit overpayment from them. 

 

This section tells you what happens once your appeal is sent to the Tribunals Service.

Choosing an oral or paper hearing

The Tribunals Service will send you an enquiry form. You can choose to have an oral hearing or a paper hearing of your case. An oral hearing is when you go along in person to put your case before the Tribunal. A paper hearing is when a Tribunal will make a decision based only on the paper evidence.

Will I need a representative?

Tribunals are set up for people to represent themselves so you do not need to have a representative. Sometimes a local advice centre, such as Citizens Advice, will be able to help if you would prefer someone else to put your case for you.

What happens at an appeal?

The Tribunal consists of a legally qualified person. The appeal is organised by The Tribunals Service which is separate from local councils and the Department for Work and Pensions.

If you choose an oral hearing the Tribunal will usually want to ask you some questions about the issues you have raised in your appeal. You will also be given the chance to put forward the arguments you have prepared.

What happens after the appeal?   

The Tribunal will notify you of the decision within 7 days. If you are not successful the Tribunals Service will provide you with information about how to challenge the decision further.

What if I want to appeal after 1 month of receiving my Housing Benefit letter?

A late appeal can only be accepted in special circumstances. If you appeal outside the 1 month time limit you must explain why the appeal is late. If we do not agree to extend the time limit your appeal will be sent to the Tribunals Service to decide if it can be accepted. The maximum time limit for making a late appeal is 13 months from the date of the decision letter.

 

To find out more about a Housing Benefit decision, ask for a written statement, request a review or to appeal, you can:

email us: housing.benefits@redbridge.gov.uk

Write to us:

Revenues, Benefits and Transactional Centre

The Benefits Service
Lynton House 
255 - 259 High Road
Ilford Essex
IG1 1NN

 

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