Benefits appeals

Getting your benefit right

We want to make sure that you are getting your full entitlement to benefits.

We may have overlooked something, you may have completed your application form incorrectly or maybe we have simply made a mistake.

If you are not happy with the way your benefit has been calculated then contact us now. We want to hear from you so that we can put right anything that is wrong.

What happens when you make a claim

We work out how much benefit we can give you based on the information and evidence that you provide with your claim form. When we have processed your claim, we send you a decision letter that tells you how much we can give you and how we have worked this out.

If you would like more information about how we have worked out your Benefit, you can write and ask us for a detailed explanation. This explanation is called a Statement of Reasons.

If you don't agree with how we have worked out your benefit you can write and ask us to look at our decision again if you think that our decision is wrong. You must do this within one calendar month of the date of the decision letter and send in any extra information that you think we need to know. The time it takes us to give you a Statement of Reasons is added on to the month in which you have to appeal.

Reconsideration

We will then reconsider our decision and write to you with the result.

If you want to appeal further

If we cannot change the decision or we make a decision that worsens your situation, you can ask us to send your appeal to the Tribunal Service for review by an independent tribunal. To appeal in this way, you should write to us within one calendar month of our decision.

What happens next

We will send you a form that you must return to the Tribunal Service . The Tribunal Service  will contact you to arrange for your appeal to be heard.

The administration of your appeal is handed over to the Tribunal Service at this stage, so if you have a query about its progress, you should contact them on 0121 634 7200.

The Appeals Tribunal

The tribunal will be headed by one or more legally qualified persons.

You may go to the hearing to present your case or ask a representative to do this for you. Alternatively, you may ask that the tribunal hear your case without you having to attend. The council will also send a representative to present its case.

The Benefit Regulations also make provision for a person to appeal to a tribunal at the outset of the disputes process. However if this is required, it must be made clear in your appeal. The appeal will still be subject to reconsideration by the authority.

If you need any help with your appeal, you can call at the Council Offices. Our staff will explain your claim to you and help you write your appeal.

You can also go to one of the independent advice centres (Citizens Advice Bureaux etc.) in the district that can help you at every stage of your appeal.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS)

The new Council Tax Reduction Scheme is no longer a benefit, but a discount which is taken off your Council Tax bill. If you disagree with how the Council has calculated your Council Tax Reduction, you no longer appeal to the Council, who will send it on to the Appeals Tribunal, but the Valuation Tribunal for England. The contact details for the Valuation Tribunal are:-

VT Office London
2nd Floor Black Lion House
45 Whitechapel Road
London
E1 1DU

Telephone: 0300 123 2035
Facsimile: 020 7247 6598

Email: VTWhitechapel@vts.gsi.gov.uk This link will take you to an external website...

Web: www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk

Last reviewed: 21 - 06 - 2013

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