Appeal a Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction decision

Any 'person affected' by a decision regarding Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction can ask us to revise our decision or appeal to an independent tribunal.

If you are unhappy about our decision

You can ask for more information about the decision.

We will give you an explanation, sometimes over the phone. If you are still not happy you can appeal or request a revision.

Request a revision

You must write to us within one calendar month of the date on the notification letter.

In exceptional circumstances we will extend the time limit for asking for a revision. You must write to us and tell us why you did not ask at the appropriate time.

We will not consider a later request if it is made 13 months after the decision notice was first issued.

We will write to you saying the decision has been changed or will stay the same.

You can ask us to provide a written Statement of Reasons, which will explain how we reached the decision. This does not affect your right of an appeal.

We may ask for further information before making a final decision, which you must provide within one month of being requested.

The time taken for us to provide the statement may extend the time limit for asking for a revision or seeking an appeal to the tribunal.

Who can make an appeal

A person affected includes:

  • a claimant
  • someone appointed by the courts to act on behalf of the claimant
  • someone who we agree is appointed to act on behalf of the claimant
  • a landlord or agent, but only in matters relating to whom payment of benefit is to be made
  • any person from whom an overpayment is to be recovered

This means that only the claimant can ask us to revise a decision concerning the calculation of a claimant's entitlement.

Advice Centres, like the Citizens' Advice Bureau and law centres, can represent you and help you understand the reasons for Council Tax Reduction scheme decisions. Contact Citizens Advice

If you’re a landlord or an agent

A landlord or agent can only ask us to revise a decision about whether payment should be made to a landlord and if the decision to recover an overpayment from a landlord or agent has been correctly made.

What you can appeal

Appeals can be made regarding matters like:

  • the amount of benefit payable
  • the rent eligible for benefit
  • the calculation of a claimant's income
  • the calculation and recovery of an overpayment

You will be notified if the matter you are disputing does not carry the right of appeal.

A request for a revision means we will look again at the decision we have made and make sure it has been done correctly.

An appeal means that an independent tribunal will consider our decision.

How to make an appeal

You must make the request to us in writing within one month of the date on the decision notification letter.

If you have already asked us to revise our decision and have received a reply about the request, you have one month from the date of our reply to ask for your case to be considered by the appeal tribunal.

Write to the Benefits Team in your area:

Extending the time limit for appeals

The 'person affected' must write to us saying why you did not appeal at the appropriate time.

A request for an extension of the time limit will not be considered if it is made 13 months after the notice of decision was issued.

Attending the tribunal

The Tribunals Service will tell you the date, time and location.

You will also be asked if you want to attend or if you would prefer the tribunal to consider your case without you being present, this is called a 'paper hearing'.

In most cases the tribunal will include only one panel member who is legally qualified.

The Clerk to the Tribunal and our representative may also attend.

If you’re unhappy with the tribunal’s decision

You can only challenge the tribunal's decision if they've got the law wrong, or if they've made a mistake.

The tribunal will send you information on how to challenge their decision with your decision letter. It’s free to challenge.

You'll need to start the appeal within a month of your decision letter.

If the tribunal agrees to your appeal, you'll have to apply to another tribunal - this is called the Upper Tribunal. You'll get details of how to appeal with your decision letter.

Advice centres, like the Citizens Advice and law centres, can represent you and help you understand the reasons for decisions about Housing Benefits and Council Tax Reduction.

Trade unions may also offer free advice to their members.

You may be able to get advice from a solicitor under the Legal Advice and Assistance scheme.
If you use a solicitor, the scheme does not cover the cost of them helping you at a hearing.

For more details of solicitors and advice centres are on GOV.UK.

Read GOV.UK’s legal aid page