What to do if a benefits decision is wrong or if benefit is overpaid?
How do you ensure that my benefit claim is correct?
When you apply for benefits, you will sign a declaration which confirms that you will tell us of any change in your personal circumstances which may affect the payment of your claim. It is important that you tell us of any changes immediately to make sure that the correct amount of benefit is awarded to you. It is your responsibility to tell us of any change in your personal circumstances.
Whenever you receive a decision notice for your benefits, you should read all the details of the letter to ensure that the information we have used to calculate your benefits is accurate. If you notice that some of the details used to decide your benefits is incorrect, you should contact the Benefits Office as soon as possible to tell us. If any of the income, expenses, capital (savings), rent or ineligible service charges are incorrect, please write to the Benefits Office immediately to tell them what figures are incorrect.
The Benefits Office will then look again at the decision and give you an explanation of the decision.
What happens if I am paid too much Housing Benefit or my Council Tax reduction decreases?
If you are overpaid Housing Benefit you will normally have to repay it. We will write and tell you what your correct benefit is and how much the overpayment is. We will either ask you to repay the amount in full, or we can deduct the overpayment from any future monies you receive from us.
Repaying your Housing Benefit overpayment online is easy, secure and convenient.
A change in your Council Tax Reduction which results in your Council Tax liability increasing is always recoverable from you.
What happens if I disagree with a decision or do not understand it?
If you think we have made a mistake in assessing your Housing Benefit, or if you do not understand how your claim was calculated, you can write to the Benefits Office for an explanation. This is called a 'Statement of Reasons'. If you disagree with a decision you have the right to challenge it. This is called 'requesting a reconsideration', and must also be done in writing within one calendar month of the original decision being made. You also have the right to appeal against a decision and to have your appeal heard by the Tribunals Service at an appeal tribunal.
You can request an explanation of a Council Tax Reduction decision in the same way as for Housing Benefit but there are different rules regarding an appeal against a Council Tax Reduction decision as detailed below.
Making an appeal against a Council Tax Reduction decision
If you want to appeal against our decision regarding your Council Tax Reduction you must write to us identifying the decision and telling us why you think we are wrong. The technical term for this is making a 'grievance'.
We will write to you within two months from the date we receive it. We will tell you whether we agree or not with your appeal (grievance).
If after we write you still disagree. Or if we have not replied within two months from the date we received your appeal (grievance) then you may appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service. You will need to Valuation Tribunal Service or telephone 0300 123 1033.
You must send your appeal to the Valuation Tribunal within two months of the date of us writing to you, or if you have not received a reply within two months.