Housing benefit appeals

Information about what to do if you think your benefit decision is wrong.


Housing Benefit Appeals and Revisions or Reconsiderations

 

Introduction

When you apply for housing benefit, we will give you a decision in writing about your claim.  If you disagree with it, you can ask us to look at it again.  There are different ways in which you can do this.  You can:

  • Appeal against our decision (known as an Appeal)

You must be the person affected by our decision to ask us for any of these options.

 

Who is affected?

  • The person making the claim (the claimant)
  • Someone acting on behalf of the claimant who is appointed by the Courts
  • Someone who the Council agrees is appointed to act on behalf of the claimant
  • A landlord - but only in matters relating to whom payment of Benefit is to be made
  • An agent - but only in matters relating to whom payment of Benefit is to be made
  • Any person from whom, it is determined, 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; and that the landlord or agent can only ask us to revise a decision about whether payment should be made to a landlord and whether the decision to recover an overpayment from a landlord or agent has been correctly made.

 

How do I request a Statement of Reason?

A person affected can ask us to provide a written Statement of Reason.  This should be requested within 1 month of the date of the decision notice.  The Statement of Reasons does not affect your right of an appeal. The statement will explain how we reached our decision.  We will aim to provide a statement within 14 days so far as this is practicable. 

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

 

How do I request a revision or reconsideration?

A request for a revision means that we will look again at the decision regarding a claim for benefit and we will make sure that it has been done correctly.  Requests for revision are to be made either in writing or by completing a Revision Request form, and must be made within one month of the decision notice.

 

What will the Benefit Section do?

The decision will be checked by a different officer to the one who made the original decision, to see if it is correct.  After reconsidering our decision, we will write to the person affected stating that the decision has been changed or that it will stay the same.  We may request further information from the person affected before we make a final decision. The person must provide the information within one month of the request.  We will aim to reply to all requests for a revision within 14 days so far as this is practicable.

 

What can I do if I still do not agree with the decision?

A person affected by a decision may be able to appeal to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, who are independent of the Council and The Department for Work and Pensions where a judge will look at your case and make a decision on it.  The request must be made in writing to us at the Benefit Section, Northumberland County Council, Wansbeck Square, Ashington, NE63 9XL and must be received by us within one month of the date on the decision notification letter. 

In exceptional circumstances the time limit for requesting an appeal can be extended.  The person affected must write to us giving grounds for not appealing 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.

 

What will Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) do?

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service will write to the person to tell them of the date, time and place of their hearing. They will also be asked if they want to attend or whether they would prefer the Tribunal to consider their case without them being present, this is called a 'paper hearing'.

In most cases the Tribunal will consist of only one panel member who is a legally qualified person. If, however, complicated financial matters are to be considered a financially qualified person will also be present.  The Clerk to the Tribunal and the Council's representative may also be present.

If the Council or the person affected feels that the decision of HMCTS is wrong in law they can seek leave to appeal to the Upper Tribunal.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

The amount of Benefit payable is a matter between the Council and the claimant.  Only the tenant can ask the Council to review the amount of Benefit payable. If the Council reduces a tenant's benefit to recover an overpayment in respect of a previous address, the current landlord cannot appeal against the decision to recover that overpayment.

 

Contact Details

Benefits SectionIRRV
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
Ashington
Northumberland
NE63 9XL

Telephone: 0845 600 6400

 

The council now offers nine local area code telephone numbers for customers to use when calling the central contact centre.  For more details about the numbers, along with frequently asked questions, please click here.

Fax: 01670 620098

Email: benefits@northumberland.gov.uk

 

Useful websites:

 

Language Services

If you would like any benefit document in a different format, or if you need any help with language or translations please telephone 0845 600 6400 and we will do all we can to help.

You may also wish to use the facilities available on all of our web pages including page translation, accessibility and text size options.  Please see the links at the top of each web page.