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Disputes and appeals about Housing Benefit

If there's anything you do not understand about your Housing Benefit decision you can ask us to provide you with a written statement. You can request a further explanation by sending us an email or writing to us, identifying the decision and the reason for the request. This request must be received by the Benefits Service within one month of the date of the decision for which you are requesting an explanation.

If you think there has been a mistake or our decision is wrong, then you can ask for the Housing Benefit decision to be reconsidered. This request must be received by the Benefits Service within one month of the date of the decision. You can request a further explanation by sending your Benefits Service an email identifying the decision and the reason why you disagree with the decision.

We'll look again at the decision and consider your views, look at your representations and decide if the decision is correct. We will advise you of the outcome by letter. This letter is called a decision notice. Please read the notification very carefully as it will explain the decision.

If you still don’t agree with the Housing Benefit decision, you have the right to appeal to an independent organisation called the Tribunals Service. Your appeal must be made within one month of the date of the decision notice.

Your appeal must be in writing. You must also state why you think the decision is wrong. You must state the grounds for your appeal.

We will prepare paperwork explaining the decision, which is sent to the Tribunals Service together with your letter of appeal. A copy of all this paperwork will be sent to you.

You can ask to put your case orally by attending a hearing, or you can ask for a decision based on the written representations. If you ask for an oral hearing you can claim reasonable travelling expenses for yourself and any representative, and in some circumstances claim for loss of earnings and subsistence.

There are some decisions that the law says you cannot appeal against. If your appeal cannot continue for any reason the Tribunals Service will write to you. The council will not refuse an appeal.

How to appeal

Bournemouth residents

Email benefits.bournemouth@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

Christchurch and Poole residents

Email svpp@bcpcouncil.gov.uk, letting us know the specific reason(s) why you do not agree with the decision.

Find out more information in the Housing Benefit appeal procedure leaflet. Please note that the informartion in the leaflet applies to all residents, though Bournemouth residents should use phone number 01202 123 330.

If you email us, please include "Appeal" and your reference number in the subject.

What happens after you've sent in your appeal

Once we’ve looked over it, we’ll write to let you know if the decision has:

  • been changed, giving details of the new decision
  • not been changed, giving reasons why this is.

Other organisations that can help you

Advice centres like the Citizens Advice and similar organisations can represent you and help you understand the reasons for decisions about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. They may be able to help you to fill in forms or to write a letter.

Solicitors can also give you advice – you may be able to get this advice under the ‘Legal Advice and Assistance Scheme’. You can find out about this from a solicitor.

If this takes longer than one month, then the appeal period may be extended. If you wish to appeal but cannot do so within the month, tell the council straight away and ask for the appeal period to be extended

Please contact us for any help you need with Housing Benefit.