Housing benefit and Council tax support
We make decisions about your Housing Benefit. The rules are set by the government. We tell you about the decisions we make in a notification letter which is always dated. There are time limits in the appeal process.
From April 2013 we also make decisions about your Council Tax Support (help with council tax). Council Tax Support is a scheme run by the Council, not the government.
You must write to us within one month of the date on the notification letter if you disagree with a decision we have made. If your appeal is outside this month limit you must explain why your appeal is lat.
Depending on the circumstances your appeal may be treated as out of time. If you are not sure about the decision, or you do not understand the notification letters, you can also contact us to ask for a more detailed explanation. This is known as a statement of reasons.
Once we have received your letter we will ensure that a different officer looks at your claim again. We will then send you a letter to confirm the original decision or amend your entitlement.
Appealing to the tribunal service and the valuation office.
If you still disagree with our decision about your Housing benefit an Appeal Tribunal is the second stage of the process. The Appeal Tribunal is completely independent of the Benefit section and will look at your case again to ensure that the law has been applied properly. The tribunal service are required to follow the same law as the council, they have no power to change the law.
If you still disagree with our decision about your Council Tax Support, an appeal to the Valuation Office is the second stage of the process. The Valuation office is completely independent of the Benefit Section and is there to look at your case again and decide if we have made the correct decision.
You can only appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service after you have written to us. If we have looked at our decision again and you are still unhappy with our decision you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service. You must contact them within two months of the date of our reply.
If you have not heard from us and it is two months since you wrote to us you can appeal direct to the Valuation Tribunal Service. But you must contact them within four months of when you first wrote to us.
Remember - if you do not agree with the original calculation you must always appeal in writing first to the Benefit section