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What to do if my Housing Benefit is wrong
It is very important that you tell us about any changes in your circumstances within one month of the change. If you don't you may lose money you are entitled to, or you may get too much benefit which you may have to pay back. You must tell us about any changes. Do not rely on someone else to pass the message on. It is an offence not to tell us about any change of circumstance that affects your benefit.
Changes you must tell us about;
- you or anyone living with you gets a job (no matter how many hours they work), changes their job or leaves their job
- you or anyone living with you receives any pension
- any of your children leave school or leave home
- anyone moves into or out of your home (including lodgers and sub-tenants)
- your income (including benefits) or the income of anyone living with you changes
- your capital, savings or investments change
- you or anyone living with you becomes a student, goes on a training scheme, or goes into hospital, nursing home or prison
- your rent changes, your landlord changes or moves
- you move
- you or your partner are going to be away from home for more than a month
- anyone in your household dies
- you receive any decision from the Home Office
- or anything you have already told us about changes
Housing Benefit appeals
If you think your Housing Benefit is wrong, you can ask us for more information or ask for us to look at it again. If we do not change our decision, you may be able to appeal to an independent tribunal. The letter telling you about the decision will tell you if you can appeal.
If you want more information on your Housing Benefit decision you must contact us straight away. This is because if you want us to look at the decision again or if you want to appeal against it, you must do so within one month of the date on the decision letter.
When you ask us to look at a decision again, we will check that the decision is correct. A different member of staff will usually do this and if they think the original decision is wrong, we will change it.
If we cannot change the decision, we will send you a letter telling you that we cannot change it. The letter will confirm the original decision. The letter will also tell you if you can appeal against the original decision.
If you want to appeal against your Housing Benefit decision use our appeal form within one month of the date on the decision letter. An appeal tribunal will then look at your appeal and make a decision on your amount of benefit.
Housing Benefit Tribunal
Tribunals are made up of one or two experts, neither of whom is from the local authority. The tribunal can only look at the evidence, the law and the circumstances at the time we made the decision you are appealing against.
After you have appealed, we will offer you an explanation of our decision if we have not already done this.
If we do not change the decision, we will send your appeal, and an explanation of the law and facts we used to make the decision, to the Tribunals Service. We will also include any other relevant papers. We will send a copy of the appeal papers to you and your representative, if you have one. Read the appeal papers very carefully. If you do not understand something, ask us, an advice centre or a solicitor to explain.
You can ask for an oral hearing where you can attend or a paper hearing where the decision is made on the papers alone
If you wish to attend an oral hearing the tribunal may ask you questions and you can ask questions. You can take someone with you to represent you.
Whether you have an oral or paper hearing we will give you a decision notice explaining the tribunal's decision as soon as possible after the appeal hearing.