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Appeal a housing benefit decision

What are my rights of appeal for housing benefit?

Getting your housing benefit right

Housing Benefit is there to help you pay your rent. We want to be sure that you are getting all the benefit you are entitled to. You may have extra information that we did not take into account when we worked out your benefit or we may have made a mistake. We want to know and make sure your benefit is correct.

How is housing benefit worked out?

The rules are complicated and cannot be explained here but you are entitled to a detailed explanation, in writing, of how we worked out your benefit. This is called a "written statement of reasons" and must be requested within one month of the date on the decision letter. Even if you do not qualify for any benefit, you can still ask for a detailed explanation of why not.

Not happy?

For example:

  • Do you disagree with the information we have used?
  • Do you think that we were wrong to say that you did not qualify for benefit?
  • Do you think that we should not have restricted your rent?
  • Do you disagree with the amount of non-dependant deductions?
  • Do you think that we should backdate your claim?
    (that is, should we give you benefit from an earlier date?)
  • Do you believe that we should not ask you to pay back an overpayment (an overpayment is an amount you have received, but one which we now say you were not entitled to) of benefit?

Then you should write and ask us to look again at our decision giving your reasons as fully as possible. You must write within one month of getting our decision, unless there are special circumstances meaning you cannot contact us within one month (such as being in hospital). We will check the decision, then write to you again.

If you have requested a written statement of reasons you will have one month from the date of the decision letter plus the time we took to send you the statement of reasons

Still unhappy?

Whether we decide to change our original decision, or not, you can appeal further if you think it is still wrong, but you must do that within one month of our latest decision letter. We will send any further appeal with an explanation of the law and facts used to make the decision to the Tribunals Service (an independent tribunal made up of people who are not from here). They will decide your appeal at a tribunal hearing.

It is your right!

Benefit is a legal right. If you think we have got it wrong, do not be afraid to challenge our decision. The appeal process will not cost you anything.

In brief:

  • You can ask for a written statement of how any benefit decision affecting you was made.
  • If you are unhappy with any benefit decision affecting you, you have the right to ask for it to be looked at again.
  • If you think it is wrong, you have the right to be heard by an independent tribunal.
  • There are time limits, so please do not delay
  • You can make an appeal by completing the Housing Benefit online appeal form

Where can I go to get independent advice on housing benefit?