Disputes and appeals

Council tax reduction

The rules for council tax reduction disputes and appeals are different to the rules for housing and council tax benefit claims. If you don't agree with a decision we've made, you can write to us and ask us to look at your case again, and to provide a detailed explanation of our decision.

If we don't provide this information to you within two months from the date we received your request you can ask the Valuation Office Agency to look into your dispute.  

Housing benefit claims

If you think our housing benefit decision is wrong you have the right to:

  • Ask for an explanation of our decision
  • Ask us to reconsider our decision
  • Appeal against our decision

Asking for an explanation of our decision

If you want us to explain our decision you must write to us within one calendar month of the date on the letter giving our decision. Your letter must:

  1. Identify the decision that you want explained (please quote any relevant reference numbers)
  2. Include the date of our decision that you want explained
  3. Be signed by you - including where someone else has written the letter on your behalf

Disputes and appeals frequently asked questions

What if I do not agree with your decision?

When we make a decision about your claim we'll inform you of the details in writing. Well also inform you how you can appeal if you don't agree with the decision.

You can ask us to:

  • Explain the decision to you; or
  • Provide a written statement of reasons for the decision; or
  • You can appeal against the decision.

If you wish to do any of these, you must do it within one month of the date of the letter notifying you of our decision.

If you appeal against the decision we will look at your case again and if we do not change our decision and it is appropriate, we will refer your case to the Appeals Service. The Appeals Service is independent of the council.

There are special rules if you're not claiming the benefit yourself. For example, if you're a landlord and a decision is made about whether housing benefit is paid directly to you or if a decision has been made to recover an overpayment of housing benefit from you.

If you're 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.

What happens if I'm late challenging your decision?

If your appeal is made after one calendar month of the date of your decision letter you must tell us why it is late, in writing.

Late appeals can only be accepted in special circumstances and cannot be accepted if 13 months have passed since the date on your decision letter.

I want my case referred to the appeal tribunal, what do I need to do?*

If you asked us to provide an explanation and/or a statement of reasons and you're still not happy with our decision then you can appeal. You must do this within one month of us providing an explanation or statement of reasons.

Where you have appealed against our decision we will look at your case again. Where we do not change our decision and it is appropriate we will automatically refer your case to the Appeals Service. The Appeals Service is independent of the council.

When we receive your appeal we will ask you to complete our appeal form. This will give us enough information for the tribunal to consider your appeal.

It is very important that you write down the reasons for your appeal because the tribunal does not have to look at anything you do not mention. Please make sure that you sign the form.

You must return the form to us within one month of the date of the decision. If you asked us for a statement of reasons, the time limit will be extended by the time we took to send you the statement of reasons.

What happens when my case is referred to the appeals tribunal?

The tribunal can only look at the evidence, the law and the circumstances at the time we made the decision you are appealing against.

The tribunal can't look at changes of circumstances that happened after we made the decision.

If a change of circumstances could affect your benefit or mean you could claim again, you should report this us straight away.

The Appeals Service may not be able to accept your appeal if it is received more than one month after the date on the decision letter. They can only accept a late appeal if there are special circumstances that caused the delay.

Tribunal members who decide your case will be experts on the issues involved in your appeal. The members are independent of the council.

You can choose between an oral hearing or paper hearing.

How will I know what decision was made by the appeal tribunal?

You will be given a decision notice explaining the tribunal's decision as soon as possible after the appeal hearing. We will also be informed of the decision.

If your appeal is successful, we will usually put the decision right as soon as we receive a copy of the tribunal's decision. We may not put it right straight away if we appeal to the Social Security Commissioners. We will let you know what we intend to do.

If you do not agree with the appeals tribunal's decision they will advise you what to do next on their decision notice.

This page was last updated on 9 March 2016

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