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Disagreeing with a Decision

Reconsideration and Appeals

If you get a decision in writing from us about Housing or Council Tax Reduction Scheme, you can ask us to look at it again. If we do not change our decision you may be able to appeal to an independent tribunal. The letter telling you about the decision will tell you if you can appeal.

If you receive a decision in writing it is usually because you have

  • claimed Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction Scheme 
  • had a change of circumstance which affects your benefit/discount
  • been told you have to pay back benefit/discount

You may be able to ask us to look again at a decision or appeal against it. There are special rules if you are not claiming the benefit yourself. For example, if you are a landlord and a decision is made about whether Housing Benefit is to be paid directly to you or if you are a landlord and a decision is made to recover an overpayment of Housing Benefit from you.

If you are an appointee for another person you can ask us to look again at a decision about their benefit and you may be able to appeal for them. The letter telling you about the decision will tell you if you can appeal. An appointee is someone appointed by us to act for a person who cannot act for themselves.

Do you want more information about the decision?

If you have received a letter telling you about your Housing or Council Tax Reduction Scheme decision and you want more information about that decision you must contact us about the decision letter straight away.

Contact us regarding Housing Benefit

Contact us regarding Council Tax Reduction Scheme

You must do this straight away because if you want us to look at the decision again or if you want to appeal against it, you must do so within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter, not the date you contact the office. You can phone, write or visit us.

When you contact us

You have a choice:
  • You can ask us to explain the reasons for the decision and/or
  • If you want more information to help you decide what to do, ask us for a written statement of reasons for the decision if we have not already sent you one. You must do this within one month of the date of the decision letter. We will send the statement of reasons to you as soon as possible.

If you still disagree with the decision, you can:

  • ask us to look at it again
  • appeal against the decision
  • If you asked for a written statement of reasons the one month you have to ask us to look at the decision again or to appeal against it will be extended by the time we took to send the statement of reasons.

Do you want us to look at the decision again?

If you have received a letter from us telling you the decision or a written statement of reasons explaining the decision or we have explained our decision and you still think it is wrong and you want us to look at the decision again, you must;

  • Advise us in writing, within one calendar month of the date of the letter. If you ask for an explanation first the one month is still counted from the date of the decision letter. If you ask for a written statement of reasons you will have one calendar month from the date of the decision letter plus the time we took to send you the statement of reasons.
  • If there are special circumstances which mean you cannot contact us within one month, we may still be able to change the decision. Tell us what the special circumstances are when you contact us.
  • If you ask us to look at a decision again more than one month after the date of the decision letter and you do not have special circumstances, we may still be able to change the decision. But this will usually only be from the date you wrote to us.

What happens next?

When you ask us to look at a decision again, we will check that the decision is correct . A different member of staff will usually do this and if the decision is wrong we will change it.

If the decision can be changed

  • If you asked us to look at our decision again, within one month, or had special circumstances which meant you could not, we will change the decision from the date of the original decision.
  • If you do not agree with the new decision, you can ask us to look at it again.
  • If you asked us to look at our decision again after one month and did not have special circumstances, the decision will usually be changed from the date you asked us on.
  • We will send you a letter telling you what the new decision is.

If the decision cannot be changed

  • If the decision cannot be changed, we will send you a letter telling you that we cannot change it. The letter will confirm the original decision.
  • The letter will tell you if you can appeal against the original decision.
  • If you can appeal, the one calendar month time limit starts again from the date of the letter confirming the decision.

Do you want to appeal against the decision?

If you have received a letter from us telling you the decision or a written statement of reasons explaining the decision or we have explained our decision and you still think it is wrong, the letter telling you about the decision will tell you if you have the right to appeal against it.

If you:

  • Have the right to appeal against the decision
  • Believe the decision is wrong
  • Want to appeal to an independent tribunal

If you want to appeal against your Housing Benefit Decision your appeal will be dealt with by the Tribunals Service which is part of the Ministry of Justice.  If you want to appeal against your Council Tax Reduction Scheme, your appeal will be dealt with the Valuation Tribunal. This means that if you  wish to appeal against both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Scheme decisions you will have to make TWO SEPARATE applications to TWO DIFFERENT APPEAL BODIES.

Information relating to appeals in respect of Housing Benefit

Find out how to appeal to the Tribunal Service

Information relating to appeals in respect of Council Tax Reduction Scheme

If you want to appeal against your Council Tax Reduction Scheme decision because you do not agree with the internal review you may appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal.

This is an independent tribunal who will hear your case (either in person or in writing).  If the Valuation Tribunal agrees with you they will instruct the Council to amend your Council Tax Reduction Scheme accordingly.

Throughout the appeal, you will still be required to make payment of your council tax liability as determined by the Council.

You can make an appeal on the Valuation Tribunal website

Other organisations that can help

Advice centres

Advice centres, like the Citizens Advice Bureau  http://www.nacab.org.uk/ and law centres, can represent you and help you understand the reasons for decisions about Housing Benefits and the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. They can also help you to fill in forms or to write a letter. They will sometimes go with you to the tribunal that hears your appeal.

It will help the advice centre if you show them any letters you have about the decision that you think is wrong. Trade unions may also offer free advice to their members. They may also be able to speak for you at the tribunal that hears your appeal.

You can find addresses for these organisations in the business section of the phone book, the Thomson Local directory, the Yellow Pages or at a library.

Solicitors

You may be able to get advice from a solicitor under the Legal Advice and Assistance Scheme. You can find out about this from a solicitor. But if you decide to use a solicitor, the scheme does not cover the cost of a solicitor to help you at a hearing. You cannot get any money for things like solicitor's fees from us or the Appeals Service.

If you live abroad

You can ask someone in Great Britain to act for you. They may be able to get help from a solicitor under the Legal Advice and Assistance Scheme. The scheme does not cover the cost of a solicitor to help you at a hearing.

This information is for guidance only.  It does not cover all the rules for all the benefits for every situation, nor does it provide a full interpretation of the rules.  It should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.


Wyre Forest District Council