Northampton Borough Council
Northampton Borough Council

How do I make an appeal?

What to do if you disagree with a decision for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit /Council Tax Reduction

If you think your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit decision is wrong you should contact us within one calendar month of the date the decision was made.

Please see below regarding your Council Tax Reduction.

If there are special circumstances which mean you cannot contact us within one calendar month, we may still be able to change the decision. In order for this to be considered you must write to us within 13 months of the decision and confirm why you were unable to contact us within the month and provide any supporting documentation you may have.

Your dispute

Your dispute must be in writing and include the following:

  • Your name, current address and the property address the dispute relates to and you must also state the decision you are unhappy with and why you are unhappy with it; this must be from the person affected by the decision.

Once the council has received the dispute, you will receive an acknowledgement letter and any Housing Benefit overpayment recovery will be placed on hold until a decision has been made.

Your new decision

Once a decision has been made we will contact you:

  • If we agree that the original decision is wrong and the new decision is to your advantage, we will send you a new decision. If you do not agree with the new decision, your appeal rights start again.
  • If we agree that the original decision is wrong, but the new decision is not to your advantage, we will send you a new decision. You then have a calendar month to appeal.
  • If we do not change the decision, we will write to you explaining our reasons for our decision and give you a further 14 days to make an appeal. This appeal must be sent to the council.

Appealing against your second decision

Your appeal must be in writing and include the following:

  • Your name, current address and the property address the appeal relates to and you must also state the decision you are unhappy with and why you are unhappy with it; this must be from the person affected by the decision.

The council will re-examine the previous decision and, if the decision cannot be changed, your appeal will be prepared and sent to the Independent Tribunal. You will be sent a copy of the submission by the authority.

Once the tribunal receives the submission they will issue you with a form to be completed and returned to them. If you fail to return this they will not consider your appeal.

What is an appeal tribunal?

An appeal tribunal is made up of individuals who do not work for the council, but are experts on the issues involved in your appeal. All tribunals have at least one legally qualified member to help apply the law to your appeal.

What the tribunal will look at

The tribunal will look at the decision made to see if, in their consideration, it was correct.

In the case of a late appeal they will look at whether there were special circumstances for the delay, the length of time since you received the decision, whether it is in the interest of justice that your appeal is accepted and whether your appeal is reasonably likely to succeed.

The Tribunals Service cannot accept a late appeal if the only reason is that you misunderstood the law, or interpretation of the law has changed since the decision was made.

How will I know the decision on my appeal?

Whether you have an oral or a paper hearing, you will be told of the result the same way.

  • You will be given a decision notice explaining the tribunal's decision as soon as possible after the appeal hearing.

The Tribunals Service will send a copy to the office that made the original decision.

We may not put it right straightaway if we are not happy with the tribunal's decision and decide to appeal to the Social Security Commissioner. Further details of this will be supplied with the outcome of your appeal.

Council Tax Reduction appeals

What do I do if I disagree with a decision for Council Tax Reduction?

You can appeal if you think:

  • You should be entitled to a Council Tax Reduction under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
  • The amount of Council Tax Reduction to which you are entitled to is wrong.

The following specific matters shall not be the subject of an appeal under these provisions:

  • The local Council Tax Reduction Scheme provisions as set by the Council
  • Any discretion applied to recover an overpayment of Council Tax Reduction
  • Who to recover an overpayment of Council Tax Reduction from
  • Suspending or restoring Council Tax Reduction

At any time you can write to the council to request a review of your entitlement to Council Tax Reduction, or the amount of any reduction, outside of the provisions for appeals detailed above.

If you wish to appeal against your Council Tax Reduction decision

Your appeal must be in writing and include the following:

  • Your name, current address and the property address the appeal relates to and you must also state the decision you are unhappy with and why you are unhappy with it.

Appeals can only be made by the person whose name appears on the bill.

The council will consider the appeal within two months of receipt. If after this time the council upholds the original decision and your appeal is denied, or fails to act on the issue to your satisfaction, you can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal.

You must do this within two months of the date the council notified you of their decision, or if you hear nothing, within four months of the date that you wrote to us.

You must continue to make payments until your appeal is decided.

Where can I get more help and information?

You can get help from the following places:

They can represent you and help you understand the reasons for decisions about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction, fill in forms or write letters and/or go with you to the tribunal that hears your appeal.