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Last updated:
15/11/2017

How can I appeal a decision about my benefits?

Can I appeal against my Rates relief or housing benefit decision?

  1. Overview
  2. The appeals process
  3. Preparing your appeal
  4. Setting out your argument in writing
  5. Making arrangements for the tribunal
  6. Going to the hearing
  7. Tips for representing yourself
  8. Can I appeal against my Rates relief or housing benefit decision?
  9. Sample letters for requesting evidence
  10. Next steps

In this section we explain how you can challenge a decision made by NI Housing Executive and Land and Property Services. This applies to benefits such as:

  • Rate Relief, and
  • Housing benefit (HB). 

Rate Relief

Land and Property Services are responsible for Rate Relief. You apply for your Rate Relief in your HB application.

If you do not agree with the Rate Relief decision, you should contact Land and Property Services and ask them for a Written Statement of Reasons- this needs to be done within a month from the decision date. If you are not satisfied with the answer, you can ask for the Reconsideration. Normally you have a month from the decision date, but if you requested the WSOR, the time will be extended.

The contact details for the LPS are as follows:

Telephone: 0300 200 7802
Text relay: 18001 0300 200 7802
Email: housingbenefit.rating@finance-ni.gov.uk

Land & Property Services
Housing Benefit Central Unit
Queen's Court
56-66 Queen Street
Belfast
BT1 6FD

If you are not happy with the outcome of the reconsideration, you need to fill in an Appeal Form and send it to LPS.

If the LPS don’t change their decision, they forward your appeal to The Appeals Service, where the Tribunal is going to hear your case.

You can send any evidence, which supports your reason for appealing with the form. You will need to attend an oral hearing or agree to a written determination- you won’t be present at the written determination.

Should I keep paying my Rates during my appeal?

Yes. You need to keep paying your Rates during the appeal period. If you are successful and your Rates bill is reduced they will take into account the amount you have already paid.

When you send in your appeal form, The Appeals Service will send you a guide to what happens during the appeal process. When they have set a date for your appeal they will send you a Notice of Hearing, which tells you when your hearing will be. If you cannot make this date, you can ask them to reschedule it.

You can contact the The Appeals Service who will give you advice about how to prepare for the hearing. Take evidence with you to the hearing and explain why you do not agree with the decision. You can bring someone with you and they can speak for you. You can send someone to speak for you if you don’t go. If you want to do this, you need to send the Appeals Service a letter telling them about this before the hearing date.

The hearings are open to the public and you may find it useful to go to someone else’s tribunal first so that you are familiar with the surroundings and process.

The hearings are open to the public and you may find it useful to go to someone else’s tribunal first so that you are familiar with the surroundings and process.

Housing benefit

If you don’t agree with your housing benefit decision you can ask the local Housing Executive NI office for a Written Statement of Reasons. If you are not satisfied with the answer you can ask to look again at the decision. This is known as a ‘dispute’. If the NIHE decides that their original decision was right, you can continue with  appeal. You can submit your appeal at the same time. If they change their decision you can withdraw the appeal. If you are appealing the decision, you must write to NIHE and explain what decision you are appealing and why. They will pass your appeal to The Appeal Service where an appeal hearing will be held.

To appeal a decision by the Social Security Agency (SSA) over the Housing Element of Universal Credit, you must ask for a mandatory reconsideration before you can appeal.

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Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. The appeals process
  3. Preparing your appeal
  4. Setting out your argument in writing
  5. Making arrangements for the tribunal
  6. Going to the hearing
  7. Tips for representing yourself
  8. Can I appeal against my Rates relief or housing benefit decision?
  9. Sample letters for requesting evidence
  10. Next steps
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