Appeal a Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction decision

Any 'person affected' by a decision regarding Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction can ask us to revise our decision.

If you are unhappy about a decision

You can ask for more information about the decision.

We will give you an explanation, sometimes over the phone. If you are still not happy you can appeal or request a revision.

Request a reconsideration

You must write to us within one calendar month of the date on the notification letter. As part of this request, you must detail your reasons for a mandatory reconsideration, and provide any evidence that supports your request.

In exceptional circumstances if your request is received outside one calendar month, we will extend the time limit for your reconsideration request. You must write to us and tell us why you did not ask at the appropriate time.

We will not consider a later request if it is made 13 months after the decision notice was first issued.
A request for a reconsideration means we will look again at the decision we have made, and make sure it is correct. We will write to confirm if the decision has been changed, or it will stay the same.

You can ask us to provide a written Statement of Reasons, which will explain how we reached a specific decision. This does not affect your right of an appeal. The time taken for us to provide the statement may extend the time limit for asking for a revision or seeking an appeal to the tribunal.

We may ask for further information before making a final decision, which you must provide within one month of request.

Who can make an appeal

A person affected includes:

  • a claimant
  • someone appointed by the courts to act on behalf of the claimant
  • someone who we agree is appointed to act on behalf of the claimant
  • a landlord or agent, but only in matters relating to whom payment of benefit is to be made
  • any person from whom an overpayment is to be recovered

This means that only the claimant can ask us to revise a decision concerning the calculation of a claimant's entitlement.

If you are a landlord or an agent

A landlord or agent can only ask us to revise a decision about whether payment should be made to a landlord, and if the decision to recover an overpayment from a landlord or agent has been correctly made.

How to make an appeal

The calculation of benefit can be a complicated process, and appeals may be raised following, the amount of a benefit award that has been calculated, the eligible rent used in the calculation of benefit, the calculation and treatment of an income, or the calculation and recovery of an overpayment.

You will be notified if the matter you are challenging does not carry the right of appeal.

If you have already asked us to revise our decision and have received a reply, you have one month from the date of our reply to ask for your case to be considered by the First Tier Tribunal.

In exceptional circumstances the time limit for requesting an appeal may be extended. You must write ua providing reasons for failing to contact us at the appropriate time. 

A request for an extension of the time limit will not be considered if it is made 13 months after the notice of decision was issued.

You must write to the Benefits Team in your area:

Extending the time limit for appeals

The 'person affected' must write to us saying why you did not appeal at the appropriate time.
A request for an extension of the time limit will not be considered if it is made 13 months after the notice of decision was issued.

Attending the Tribunal

The Tribunals Service will provide the date, time, and place of the hearing. First Tier Tribunals are held locally. You will be asked if you want to attend the hearing, or if you would prefer the tribunal to consider your case without you being present, this is called a 'paper hearing'.

In most cases the tribunal hearing consists of a Tribunal Judge who is a legally qualified person. If, however, complicated financial matters are to be considered, a financially qualified person will also be present. The Clerk to the Tribunal, and our representative may also be present.

If you are unhappy with the Tribunal’s decision

You can only challenge the First Tier Tribunal's decision with the Upper Tribunal (as can the Council) if they have made an error in law as part of their determination. 

You do not have an automatic right to appeal at the Upper Tribunal if the First Tier Tribunal dismissed your appeal. You would need to apply for permission first. 

You would need to apply to the First Tier Tribunal for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal – the Tribunal Service will send you information on how to challenge their decision with your decision letter.

Advice centres, like the Citizens Advice and law centres, can represent you and help you understand the reasons for decisions about Housing Benefits and Council Tax Reduction.

Trade unions may also offer free advice to their members.

You may be able to get advice from a solicitor under the Legal Advice and Assistance scheme. If you use a solicitor, the scheme does not cover the cost of them helping you at a hearing.
For more details of solicitors and advice centres are on GOV.UK.

Read GOV.UK’s legal aid page