If you have received a decision in writing and do not agree with how much housing benefit you should receive, you can:
- ask us to explain our decision in more detail
- ask us to reconsider the decision
- appeal to an independent appeals tribunal
If you find it helpful, you can fill out and send us a benefits dispute form.
If you want us to reconsider a decision or wish to appeal to a tribunal, you must write to us within one month of the date of the decision.
The time limit may be extended by up to 12 months but only in exceptional circumstances, for example because you were seriously ill and unable to dispute the decision within a month.
You cannot appeal against a decision more than 13 months after the date of the decision.
Asking us to reconsider a decision
The decision will be looked at again by a different member of staff. If the decision is wrong we will change it. If we still consider it is correct we will tell you the reasons.
Making an appeal
The appeal must be submitted to us (the Benefits Service of the Council). We will look again at the decision and change it if we think it is incorrect. If we think it is correct, we will write a submission saying why we think the decision is correct and send the submission with your appeal to an organisation independent of the Council called HM Courts & Tribunals Service. At the same time we will also send you all the documents relating to your appeal.
When HM Courts & Tribunals Service receives the documents relating to your appeal it will send you a form called a pre-hearing enquiry form (TAS1). This form asks you some questions such as whether you want an oral hearing (where you can attend) and if there are any dates on which you cannot attend.
You must fill in this form and return it to HM Courts & Tribunals Service within 14 days of the date they send it to you. If you do not, the Tribunals Service may bring your appeal to an end.
Appeals to a tribunal
You can appeal either straight-away or after you have asked us to reconsider our decision. If you have asked us to reconsider our decision, you have one month from the date of our reconsideration in which to make an appeal.
The right of appeal
You do not have the right of appeal against some of our decisions, for example a decision to suspend payments of benefit, the exercise of our discretion or a decision on the amount of benefit when the amount is set by law.
We will let you know if you make an appeal where you do not have the right to do so.
If you have asked for a hearing in person, HM Courts & Tribunals Service will arrange it. It will usually take place approximately 3 to 4 months after you have returned the pre-hearing enquiry form to HM Courts & Tribunals Service.
Appeals in Camden are usually heard at Fox Court, Grays Inn Road, London WC1. If you have moved, it may be heard closer to your new home.
The Tribunal will be chaired by a lawyer who is an expert in the issues involved in your appeal. He or she will allow or disallow your appeal.
An appeal against a first-tier Tribunal decision may be made to an Upper Tribunal if it is arguable that the first-tier Tribunal’s decision was wrong on a point of law.
Helping you with your dispute
If you need any help or advice with your appeal or application for reconsideration you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, another local advice centre or a solicitor.