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Complaints to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman about housing benefit

This content applies to England

How to make a complaint to the Ombudsman.

A claimant can make a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman if s/he is dissatisfied with the way the housing benefit claim was handled, for example if there were long delays before the claimant received any money. The Ombudsman service investigates complaints against local authorities and issue recommendations to the local authority if it finds maladministration. A claimant must give the local authority the opportunity to investigate her/his complaint before the Ombudsman service will investigate - see Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) for more information.

One Ombudsman investigation found that a council had wrongly taken possession action through the courts and instructed bailiffs to collect council tax arrears while the complainant's benefit claim was unresolved. The council had to apologise, write off a housing benefit overpayment and an outstanding balance on her council tax account, and pay one week's housing benefit and council tax payment, and additional compensation.[1]

[1] Local Government Ombudsman Investigation (Northampton BC) 05/B/16773, 27 June 2007.

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