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Last updated:
20/11/2017

How can I appeal a decision about my benefits?

Can I appeal against my council tax support 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 council tax support or housing benefit decision?
  9. Next steps

In this section we explain how you can challenge a decision made by your local authority. This applies to benefits such as:

  • Council tax support, and
  • Housing benefit.

Council tax support

Your local authority is responsible for all council tax, exemptions and discounts in your area. Every local authority has their own appeals process. You can ring your local authority and they will be able to tell you more about their process.

If you receive a council tax bill that you disagree with, you should first write a letter to the council. The letter should state:

  • which part of the bill you think is wrong, and
  • the reason that you think that part of the bill is wrong.

The council is allowed two months to ask you for more information and to consider your letter. Even though you think the bill is wrong, you must pay the instalments due, unless you are disputing a penalty that has been added to the bill. Once the council has looked again at the bill, if it is found to be wrong and you have paid too much council tax, this should be refunded to you or taken off your council tax bill.

You can send any evidence, which supports your reason for appealing with the form. This may include:

  • bank statements,
  • proof that people are living at other addresses,
  • proof of your disability,
  • invoices and receipts that show money has been spent on essential items, or
  • any other evidence that proves the decision they have made about you is incorrect.

They should respond in two months. If they feel their original decision was right and do not agree with your appeal, then you can appeal to the Valuation Appeals Committee (VAC). If you want to appeal to the VAC, you need to do this within two months of the local authority’s decision.

At appeal, you have to write another letter to the council. Your letter must:

  • state that you wish to appeal to the Valuation Appeals Committee, and
  • include the reason for your appeal, and
  • include the date that you first wrote to the council about your bill.

The council must send your appeal to the Valuation Appeals Committee. You have to request your appeal within four months of sending your first letter to the council, unless the appeal is about a penalty that has been added to your bill, in which case you must request your appeal within two months of writing your first letter.

Should I keep paying my council tax during my appeal?

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

Housing benefit

If you don’t agree with your housing benefit decision you can ask the local authority to look at their decision again or appeal. If the local authority decides that their original decision was right, you can continue with the appeal. If they change their decision you can withdraw the appeal.

If you want to appeal you need to fill in your local authority’s appeal form. The letter about your decision will tell you where to send your appeal. You may have to send it back to the local authority or directly to the Tribunal. Read the Appeals section for more information about appealing to a tribunal. You normally have one month to appeal or to ask the local authority to look at their decision again.

You normally have one month to appeal or to ask the local authority to look at their decision again.

To appeal a decision by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 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 council tax support or housing benefit decision?
  9. Next steps
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