If you disagree with a decision the Benefits Service has made you have one calendar month to:
- Ask for an explanation
- Ask for the decision to be looked at again
- Appeal against the decision to an independent tribunal.
If you appeal against a decision, and after reconsideration we believe our decision was correct, then the appeal must be heard at an appeal tribunal.
We will write a response setting out the facts of the case and include copies of all relevant papers. The response and the papers will be sent to you and any representative.
You can ask for an explanation
You can get in touch with us by phone, in writing or calling into your local council customer service centre to ask for an explanation.
- We will explain how we made the decision and what information was used. If we explain in writing, this is called a 'statement of reasons'.
- If you are not satisfied with the explanation, you can ask us to look at the decision again. You must let us know within one calendar month of the date of the decision letter.
- When you ask us to look at it again we will check that the decision is correct.
- If it is wrong, we will change it.
If the decision can be changed:
- We will tell you in writing what our new decision is.
- If you do not agree with this new decision, you can ask us to look at it again.
If the decision cannot be changed:
- We will tell you in writing that we cannot change the decision. The letter will confirm our original decision and will tell you if you can appeal against it.
- If you appeal, the one calendar month time limit starts again from the date of the letter telling you that the decision cannot be changed.
Still not happy and want to appeal?
If, after we have explained our decision, you still think it is wrong, you can appeal to an independent tribunal.
You should appeal, in writing to the Benefits Service, giving full reasons for your appeal.
If you need help in appealing you can contact the Benefits Service.
The time limit for appeals is one calendar month from the date of the decision letter, or one calendar month from the date of the letter telling you that the decision cannot be changed.
If you appeal after one calendar month, you must say why it is late. Late appeals are only accepted in special circumstances, and cannot be accepted if made 12 months or more after the date of the decision letter.
If you have a change in your circumstances you should tell us straight away.
New rules state that you must tell us within one calendar month of the change happening, or you may lose benefit.
We can extend the time limit, but only if there are special circumstances.