The law allows a 'person affected' to appeal against a Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction decision issued by a local authority. Please note there are some decisions relating to administrative procedures that you cannot appeal against.
A person affected is:
- A claimant;
- A claimant’s legally appointed representative;
- A landlord or landlord’s agent, but only if they are receiving payments on behalf of a tenant;
- Any person who has been held liable for an overpayment.
If you are unhappy with a decision relating to your Housing Benefit / Council Tax Reduction
A person affected can query the Council’s decision in a number of ways:
- Explanation. You can obtain a verbal or written statement of reasons if you are unclear as to what actions the council has taken, or if you are uncertain why the decision has been made.
- Revision. You can request that the council looks at its decision again.
- Appeal. You have the right to have the decision reconsidered by a tribunal at the Appeals Service, which is independent of the Council.
Please note that you can proceed to the final stage of appeal before obtaining either an explanation or a reconsideration of the decision.
If you wish for a decision to be explained
You can obtain a verbal explanation from the Customer First office in Halifax or by telephone on 01422 288003. At that point, you can ask for the statement of reasons to be given in writing. Alternatively you can write to the Council for an explanation.
If you wish for a decision to be reconsidered
You must make written representation to the Council within one month of the date of the decision. In exceptional circumstances, this time limit may be extended to 13 months. Any time taken by the Council to provide a statement of reasons, before a request for reconsideration is made, is not taken into account. Once the decision has been reconsidered, the Council will advise you whether the decision has been changed or will remain the same.
If you wish the decision to be considered by an independent tribunal
It is not necessary for you to request an explanation or a reconsideration before requesting the decision to be looked at by an independent tribunal. You must, however, submit written representation to the Council within one month of the decision (or one month of the reconsideration decision). In exceptional circumstances, this time limit may be extended to 13 months. If the decision has not been reconsidered, the Council will do so and then advise you either that it has changed the decision or that the matter will be submitted to the Appeals Service.
The procedure for appeal
If the Council does not change its decision, it will forward you a copy of a submission that is sent to the Appeals Service. You must return the TAS1 document attached to the Appeals Service within 14 days if you wish the matter to be heard. You will then be advised of a date when the hearing will take place, usually in Leeds. You are entitled to obtain representation to assist you with the appeal (such as a friend, relation, CAB or legal representative). The appeal consists of a legally qualified chairman, yourself and a presenting officer from the Council. All parties have the right to provide additional evidence, ask questions and call witnesses. A decision will usually be given immediately after the hearing.