Reduced Services

Accessing Council Services:  

  • You can access advice, or support with using our online services, by phoning 01268 882200 (8.45am to 5.15pm Mon to Thurs, and to 4.45pm on Fri)
  • The Kiln Road office will re-open for pre-booked appointments only (9.00am to 4.00pm), these can be arranged on a case by case basis by phoning 01268 882200.
  • You can find information and advice on COVID-19 and our 24/7 online services on our  Coronavirus information page

Benefit appeals

What if you disagree with or don't understand our decision?

If you are unhappy with a decision in regards to your housing benefit or council tax support award then you can ask for it to be re-considered.  This must be done in writing and must be signed by you, the customer.  For housing benefit this request must be made within one calendar month of the date of the decision in dispute.

What happens next?

We will look at our decision to see if we can change it in your favour.  We will send you a letter stating if we have been able to change it or not.

If we have not been able to change the decision then you can then request a formal appeal of this decision.  This involves an independent third party hearing the case and making a final decision.  For your housing benefit claim this will be HM Courts and Tribunals Service, for council tax support this will be the Valuation Tribunal Service.

How to appeal

If you want to appeal against a decision we have made about your housing benefit you need to write to us stating that you wish to appeal.  Please make it clear if you want to appeal to the tribunal. Your letter must:

  • be signed by you
  • make it clear which decision you're appealing against
  • say why you think the decision is wrong
  • include any extra information and evidence you think should be considered

This must be received within 1 month of the date of the decision, or the date we have informed you that the decision has not been changed, following an initial re-consideration request.

If you want to appeal against a decision we have made regarding your council tax support award then you need to make your appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service directly.  This must be done within 2 months of us informing you that we have been unable to change our decision.

What is an Appeal Tribunal?

  • They have a panel of tribunal members who hold a hearing that you can attend to put your case forward.
  • Hearings are held in a number of places locally.
  • The tribunal will normally have one member and he or she will have a legal qualification.
  • They will give you a written decision at the end of the hearing.
  • They also deal with appeals just on the paperwork provided if you don't want to go to a hearing.  In this case they will send you their decision in writing.

There is a further right of appeal if you think their decision is legally wrong - they will tell you about this when they give you their decision.

Decisions you can't appeal against

You can ask us to look again at any decision you think is wrong but there are some decisions which do not carry a formal right of appeal and therefore the tribunal may chose not to hear the case.  For example:

  • Any parts of the actual housing benefit or council tax support scheme set down in law
  • A decision over who to recover a recoverable overpayment from once legitimate targets have been identified, as out lined in law
  • Any exercise of discretion to recover a recoverable overpayment
  • Any decisions to exercise discretionary powers
  • A decision to suspend a benefit claim pending further investigation
  • The method of recovery of an overpayment
  • Local Housing Allowance figures
  • An Assessed Income Figure from the DWP
  • When and how benefit is paid

Landlords and appeals

  • Landlords have only limited rights of appeal if they don't agree with decisions about the housing benefit for their tenants
  • Landlords can appeal if we decide not to pay their tenant's benefit direct to the landlord
  • Landlords can appeal if we ask them to repay when we've paid them too much benefit for one of their tenants
  • Landlords can't appeal about how much benefit their tenant gets

Advice workers and appeals

Advice workers can help you understand benefit decisions and help you with an appeal. They may be able to represent you at an appeal tribunal hearing. But if they write the letter of appeal for you, the law says you must still sign the letter yourself.

Can't find the information you are looking for?

If you require help with something in this section, please  Contact us.