How to Appeal a Benefits Decision

Are you unhappy with the decision the Benefits Section has made with your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support?

If you disagree with a decision we've made about your benefit claim, you can challenge it.

You can appeal if you are:

  • the claimant
  • someone who the claimant has chosen to act for them
  • someone who is being held responsible for paying back an overpayment
  • a landlord, if the decision is that we can't pay the tenant's benefit to you

Please note if you're acting on someone's behalf, we must have signed authority for you to do so.

You can then ask us to:

  • look at the decision again
  • for Housing Benefit decisions pass your appeal case to an independent tribunal run by HM Courts and Tribunal Service (see below)
  • for Council Tax Support decisions appeal to the Valuation Tribunal (see below)

You must write to the Benefits Section at Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) explaining why you think the decision is wrong. Include evidence to support your appeal. For example, if you think we've worked out your earnings incorrectly, give us proof of your correct earnings.

Your appeal must reach us within one month of the date on the decision letter that you disagree with. This time limit will be extended if you have asked for an explanation of the decision. The time limit can also be extended in special circumstances, but it is always important for you to tell us as soon as possible if you disagree with the decision.

You can also get independent advice on the decision from an advice or welfare centre. They can help you understand the reasons for the decision, and also help you to write letters.

Appealing against a decision

You can appeal against a decision, if you:

  • have a letter from the Benefits Section explaining the decision
  • have a written statement of reasons explaining the decision
  • have received an explanation from the Benefits Section and you still think it is wrong
  • have a letter telling you about the decision that tells you that you have the right to appeal against it

If the decision can be changed

We will write to you telling you what the new decision is. If you do not agree with the new decision, you can ask the Benefits Section to look at it again.

If the decision cannot be changed

We will send you a letter explaining why. The letter will confirm the original decision and explain the reasons for that decision. The letter will also tell you if you can appeal against the original decision and if so, the one-month time limit starts again from the date of the letter confirming the unchanged decision.  

HM Courts and Tribunal Service

HM Courts and Tribunal Service will decide your appeal at a tribunal hearing. The tribunal is independent of MVDC. The tribunal will have a member who is an expert and legally qualified on the issues involved in your appeal.

If your appeal is passed to HM Courts and Tribunal Service you will be sent a copy of the case papers. HM Courts and Tribunal Service will contact you and you are allowed 14 days to return your response. If you do not respond, your appeal may stop.

If you choose to attend the tribunal you will be able to deal with any questions or issues that arise. People who go to their hearing usually do better than those who do not.

At the hearing, the judge will look at the evidence, the law and the circumstances at the time MVDC made the decision in order to decide whether the decision is correct. They will notify you in writing of their decision.

Valuation Tribunal

If  you have received our explanation for Council Tax Support and you are still not satisfied with our decision, you may appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. Your appeal must be made within two months of the date on the letter. If you do not receive a response from us within two months you may appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal.

You will need to fill in an appeal form. This can be done on-line by visiting the Valuation Tribunal website. Alternatively you may contact the Valuation Tribunal on 0300 123 2035 and request an appeal form.