Housing Benefit Appeal
You must give the following details:
- The date of the decision you are appealing.
- The claim under appeal.
- Reasons why you think the decision is wrong.
- If you give enough detail why you disagree with the decision maker may reconsider it.
If you miss the one month deadline your appeal may still be heard if the Appeals Service:
- Is satisfied there is a reasonable chance of your appeal succeeding, and
- It is in interests of justice to allow you to appeal, and
- You have special reasons for not appealing within the time limits. Special reasons could be ill health or disability.
What should I do for my Appeal?
- Have an oral hearing.
- Collect evidence in support of your case - if your case rests on a medical matter get a letter from a doctor or consultant.
- Make notes about your situation at the time the Department for Work and Pensions made their decision.
- Turn up to the hearing - you have a far better chance of success.
- Take a representative or friend with you.
The Appeals Service can arrange for your appeal to be at your home if you are too ill to travel. You will need a note from your doctor stating you are too ill to travel.
At the Hearing
The Tribunal will be made up of up to three members, one will be legally qualified. There may be a Presenting Officer from the Department for Work and Pensions. You should get a decision on the day of the Tribunal.
If you still do not agree
You can appeal to a Social Security Commissioner. This appeal will only succeed if you can show the tribunal is incorrect in law. You should do this right away. To help you do this, you must apply for a full statement of reasons to the Appeals Service within one month of getting your decision. Get advice if you want to appeal.
You may be able to claim expenses to get to and from the Tribunal hearing and you may be able to get:
- Any earnings you lose.
- Help with the cost of child minding while you are at the Tribunal.
- Help to pay for someone to look after a relative who is old or ill.
- You need to arrange this with the Appeals Service before your Tribunal.
A backdate of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit may be requested for a period prior to you submitting your application. Backdating can be claimed as follows:
- Working Age customer - six month period prior to receipt date of application.
- Pension Age customer - three month period prior to receipt date of application.
- How do I request a backdate of Benefit? - Any request for backdated benefit must be made in writing to the Benefits Service. In your request you should give full details of the reasons that prevented you from submitting a claim at the time and also the reasons which have prevented you claiming since that date.
Men aged 60 - 64 are working age customers, but are also entitled to claim Pension Credit. The following rules apply to this group:
- If the customer, or partner, is in receipt of Income Support (IS) or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA(IB)), the six month time limit for backdating applies and the customer will need to show good cause for not claiming before
- If the customer is claiming Pension Credit (and no partner is in receipt of IS or JSA(IB)), the three month limit for making a claim applies and the customer will not need to show good cause for not claiming before
If you are a working age customer it will be necessary for you to establish good cause for your backdate request. This means that you will have to give full explanations of the reasons why you did not submit your application at the time you wish your claim to be paid from. You will have to demonstrate good cause throughout the period for which you are requesting backdating. This is known as continuous good cause.
The burden of proving good cause rests with you as the customer, however, the Benefits Service will consider all of the relevant facts in each case. We may request to see evidence if your reasons relate to medical illness or delays caused by a third party.
An overpayment occurs when you have been paid Benefit that you were not entitled to receive. Overpayments of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit arise for various reasons and below are some examples:
You may have left your home and not told the Benefits Service
- Somebody may have moved into or out of your home and you have not told the Benefits Service.
- You may not have informed the Benefits Service that you have started work or changed jobs.
- You may not have told the Benefits Service that your income has increased.
- If you have been paid too much Benefit, you will normally be asked to pay back the amount overpaid. This is known as a recoverable overpayment.
Do I have to pay back the overpaid Benefit?
The Benefits Service can recover all overpayments except those that are caused by ‘official error’. An official error is a mistake that the Benefits Service, the Department for Work and Pensions or Jobcentre Plus make and you could not reasonably be expected to know about.
Who has to pay the overpayment back?
The Benefits Service can recover the overpayment from the claimant or the person/organisation to whom the Benefit was paid. We will decide whom to recover the overpayment from after looking at the reasons that led to the overpayment.
How will you recover the overpayment?
- If you are still receiving Housing Benefit the Benefits Service may reduce your Benefit each week to recover the overpayment.
- If you are not receiving Housing Benefit you may receive a bill for the overpaid amount and you should contact the Benefits Overpayments Officer to make a payment arrangement.
- In certain circumstances the Benefits Service may ask your landlord to repay the overpayment.
- The Benefits Service can ask the Department for Works and Pensions to recover the overpayment from your social security benefits.
- Any overpaid Council Tax Benefit will be added to your Council Tax bill.
What are my appeal rights?
If you disagree with the overpayment you must write to the Benefits Service and ask for a detailed written explanation or request that we look at our decision again. If you are still not satisfied with our decision or explanation, you can appeal. An independent Tribunal Service will hear your appeal.