If you disagree with our Housing Benefit decision

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When you apply for Housing Benefit, we will give you a decision in writing about your claim.

If you disagree with our decision, you can challenge it. You can do this with most types of decisions where you believe that the decision is wrong. This may be because of something we did wrong or did not know about.

There are different ways in which you can challenge our decision. You can:

  • ask us to explain our decision
  • ask for the decision to be looked at again
  • ask for an independent Appeal tribunal to look at our decision

You will need to be clear about what you want us to do.

Explain our decision

You can ask us to give you a statement of reasons to explain how we made our decision. You will need to write to us requesting this and we will send you our reasons in writing.

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

You must write to us within 1 month of the date on the decision letter. You must be clear about why we should reconsider our decision and provide any relevant supporting evidence that might help.

If there are special circumstances that mean you cannot write to us within 1 month, you must contact us to explain why. We may still be able to look at our decision again.

What happens when the Council looks at the decision again?

The decision will be checked by a different officer to the one who made the original decision.

We will then write to you and tell you if we have changed our original decision. If the decision cannot be changed our letter will confirm why.

If you still disagree, you can ask for your case to be considered by an independent tribunal.

You want to appeal, what should you do?

You have 1 month from the date of the letter telling you about the original decision - or the outcome of the reconsideration - to submit your appeal.

A late appeal may be accepted if you have special circumstances, such as a death in the family or serious illness. However it won't be accepted if more than 13 months have passed.

How should you appeal?

Appeals must:

  • be made in writing
  • be signed by the “person affected”, usually the claimant
  • include what part of the decision you think is wrong
  • include the reasons why you think the decision is wrong

Who can appeal?

Any person affected can submit an appeal. A person affected can be either the claimant, their appointee or in some cases a landlord. All appeals must be made to the Council in writing.

What happens when I appeal?

An Appeals Officer ( but not the officer who made the original decision) will look at your case.

If the decision can be changed in your favour, it will be. If the Appeals Officer believes that the original decision is correct, your appeal will be forwarded to HM Courts & Tribunal Service for a Hearing.

What happens at the hearing?

The hearing will be before an independent tribunal – which is usually one person. They are normally a Barrister or Solicitor and are completely independent of the Council. You will have the opportunity to put your case. If you have supporting evidence it is a good idea to send these to the Tribunal Service beforehand. You can take a friend with you, or a representative who can speak for you, but there are no costs awarded. This is the case even if you win.

What happens after the hearing?

Both you and the Council will be notified of the Tribunal’s decision.

If the decision is in your favour, the Council will have the opportunity to challenge this at the Upper Tribunal. We will tell you if this is the case. If the Council decides not to challenge, your benefit will be reassessed and any benefit due will be paid to you as soon as possible.

If the decision is not in your favour you can ask the Tribunal Service for a statement of reasons. You must do this within 1 month of the decision.

If you do not agree with the Tribunal’s decision you may take your appeal to the Upper Tribunal and your notification from the Tribunal Service will tell you how to do this.

Contact Details

Ipswich Borough Council,
Housing Services,
3E Grafton House, 
15-17 Russell Road,

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01473 432000