Appeals & disputes

Council Tax Support & Housing Benefit

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Council Tax Support

If you disagree with a decision on your Council Tax Support claim you can ask for it to be explained or looked at again.

Unfortunately it is unlikely that the decision will be changed if your Council Tax Support has been awarded correctly according to our local scheme.

For example, the decision will not be changed if you are of working age and disagree that you are no longer entitled to a 100% discount. The maximum amount of council tax reduction the Council can give you under the new local Council Tax Support Scheme is 85% so we will not be able to increase the amount.

However you can challenge the amount of council tax you have to pay for any of the reasons below :

  • you think that under the local council tax support scheme the Council should have given you a reduction on the council tax you pay but has not done this
  • you think that the amount of reduction the Council has given you under its local scheme is incorrect
  • you think that a decision on your application for a Discretionary Discount Fund payment is wrong

If you would like to challenge a decision please complete a dispute form.

What happens after a dispute is made?

If you have asked for the decision to be looked at again we will do this and we will write to you.

If we find that an unlawful decision has been made we will revise it.

If we cannot change the decision we will explain why we were unable to change it.

If you still disagree with the decision after it has been looked at again, or two months have passed since you asked for it to be looked at again and you have not received a reply, you can appeal directly to an independent organisation called the Valuation Tribunal.

More information about appealing to the Valuation Tribunal will be given after we have looked at our decision again.

The Valuation Tribunal will only be able to make sure the Council Tax Support decision has been made correctly according to the local scheme.

Housing Benefit

When you apply for Housing Benefit we will give you a decision in writing about your claim. If you disagree with it you can ask us to look at it again, or appeal to an independent tribunal.

You can

  • ask us to explain our decision
  • ask us to look at your claim again: or
  • appeal against our decision to an independent tribunal

These rules also apply to Council Tax Benefit which was abolished on 1st April 2013.

 

Decisions you cannot dispute or appeal against

You can ask us to look again at any decision you think is wrong. However there are some decisions you cannot dispute or appeal against, for example

  • any figure laid down in law, such as the capital limit
  • the level of Local Housing Allowance or the Broad Market Area on which it is based
  • how often we pay you and by what method
  • how we recover an amount we overpaid you
  • if you think our decision about a Discretionary Housing Payment is wrong
  • a decision to apply the benefit cap advised by the Department for Works and Pensions

What should I do if I want you to look at your decision again?

You can ask us to give you a written statement in writing to explain how we made our decision. This does not affect your right to appeal against our decision. The time we take to provide the statement will mean you have more time to ask us to look at our decision again or appeal to the Tribunals Service.

You must write to us, or use the dispute form, within one month of the date on the decision letter.

If there are special circumstances which mean you cannot write to us within one month, you must contact us to explain why, because we may still be able to look at our decision again. However if your request is not received within 13 months of the decision letter the law says that we cannot look at the decision again.

What happens when we look at our decision again?

The decision will be checked to see if it is correct.

If we can change our decision :

  • we may change it from the date of our original decision: and
  • we will send you a letter explaining our new decision

If we cannot change our decision:

  • we will send you a letter explaining why: and
  • you will have one more month to appeal to the Tribunal Service

I want to appeal against your decision. What should I do?

You must appeal by writing a letter, or by filling in an appeal form. You must send your appeal to our office within one calendar month of the date of the decision letter.

The Tribunals Service will make a decision about your appeal at a tribunal hearing. The tribunal hearing is made up of people who are independent from us.

It is important that you give all of your reasons for appealing because the tribunal does not have to look at anything that you do not mention in your letter or appeal form. The tribunal can only look at the evidence, the law, and the circumstances at the time the original decision was made.

Remember, if the tribunal finds you have been getting too much money, we will reduce your benefit and you may have to repay any overpaid benefit.

 

Independent advice

If you would like independent advice you can get help from your local citizens advice bureau or a solicitor.

 

Contact the Benefit Team for further advice.