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Housing benefit reviews and appeals

You can ask the council to review a decision about your housing benefit claim.

For example, you might want to do this if the council:

  • have not assessed your claim correctly

  • turn down your application or say you’re no longer entitled to housing benefit

  • say you must repay overpaid housing benefit

  • refuse to pay housing benefit directly to your landlord to help you budget

  • will not backdate your housing benefit

How to ask for a review

Ask for a review in writing and explain why you think the decision is wrong.

Include evidence if you have it. For example, copies of payslips if the council have wrong information about your wages.

Check the housing benefit section of your council's website to see if you need to include anything else.

Time limits to ask for a review

The council will send a letter explaining why they made their decision.

If you want to ask for a review, you must write to the council’s housing benefit department within 1 calendar month of the date on this letter.

You can also ask the council to give you more information about their decision. They should do this in 2 weeks. The time you spend waiting for more information does not count towards the 1 month you have to request a review.

Late requests

You can ask for a revision after 1 month if you have a good reason, such as being in hospital.

The time limit for a late request is 13 months from the date of the original decision.

When making a late application, explain why you could not ask for a review sooner.

No time limit

You can ask the housing benefit department to review a decision at any time if there has been an official error. For example, the council got the law wrong.

How the council change a decision

The council look at the original decision to decide if it should be changed.

If they ask for more information, you’ll usually have 1 month to give it to them.

The council write to you with a review decision explaining:

  • if and how your benefit has changed

  • how to appeal to a tribunal

The council must backdate any housing benefit increase to the date of the original decision if you asked for a review in the time limit. You may get a lump sum payment.

Appeal to a housing benefit tribunal

You can write to your council’s housing benefit department to ask for an appeal at the first tier tribunal. For example, you can do this:

  • if the council do not change the decision after you ask for a review

  • instead of asking the council to reconsider their decision

It can take between 3 and 8 months for your appeal to be decided at a first tier tribunal.

The council may have a special form or you might have to send them a letter. This will be forwarded to the tribunal with the council’s response.

You will be asked if you want to go to the hearing. If you do not go, the judge will look at the information you provide.

A decision is normally made on the same day.

Complain about the council

Use your council's complaints process if you’re not happy with the service from the housing benefit team.

Find your local council website on GOV.UK

You can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) if you're not happy with the council's reply to your complaint.

How to complain to the LGSCO

You can use the LGSCO online complaint form.

If you cannot use the form you can phone them on 0300 061 0614

Last updated: 29 April 2024

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