An appeal is a way of telling the benefit office that you think a decision is wrong.
When you appeal a decision, it will be looked at by an independent tribunal which is completely separate from the benefit office.
You must make your appeal in writing.
If you appeal on the official appeal form this can help you to give all the information that is needed.
The leaflet ‘If you think our decision is wrong’ will tell you how to start you appeal and includes a copy of the appeal form.
Download a copy of the appeal leaflet and form:
Benefits and Tax Credits appeal forms links (England, Scotland, Wales) (link opens in a new window)
Benefits and Tax Credits appeal form (Northern Ireland) (link opens in a new window)
Pick up a copy of the appeal leaflet and form from your local Jobcentre or your local Jobs and Benefits Office, or Write to the benefit office using the address on your decision letter.
If you can't get hold of the official appeal form, make sure you include the following details in your letter:
Your name and contact address
Your national insurance number
The date of the decision you are appealing against
The decision you are appealing against
Why you think the decision is wrong
If you don't include all these details, your appeal form may have to be returned to you.
You have one calendar month from the date of the decision. The date will be shown at the top of your decision letter.
You may get longer if you ask for an explanation of the decision to be sent to you.
If you ask for the decision to be looked at again before you appeal, you have one month from the date of your most recent decision.
If you missed the deadline for reasons out of your control, such as illness or bereavement, you may be given more time to appeal.
When you appeal you should explain why it is late.
If the benefit office doesn’t think you have a good reason for appealing late, they will pass your request to the Tribunal Service who will decide if your appeal can be accepted or if it is too late to be heard.
An appeal can’t be accepted if it is 13 months or more since the date of the decision
Look again at the decision
If they haven’t already, a different decision maker will look at the decision and decide whether it should be changed.
If they decide that they can’t change the original decision, your appeal will carry on.
If they decide that the original decision is wrong, they will change the decision and send you a new decision letter:
If the new decision makes you better off your appeal will stop. You can appeal this new decision if you think it is wrong
If the new decision does not make you better off, your appeal will carry on, but now it will be against the new decision.
Send your appeal on to the Tribunal Service or Appeals Service (Northern Ireland)
If your appeal carries on, your appeal form will be sent to HM Courts and Tribunals Service or The Appeals Service (Northern Ireland), who run the First Tier Tribunal.
The benefit office will also include their response. This explains:
How they came to their decision
What information they used
What benefit law they based their decision on.
The First Tier Tribunal
The First Tier Tribunal will decide if you are legally entitled to a benefit and can change a decision if they think it is wrong.
The tribunal could make a decision that leaves you worse off so it is often best to seek advice before deciding whether to appeal.
The tribunal cannot:
*Change the law
*Deal with administrative complaints, like delay or poor service (see complaints about your claim)
*Consider changes of circumstances which have taken place since the decision was made - you may be able to make a new benefit or tax credit claim.
For information about what happens when your appeal is received by the Tribunal Service (England, Scotland and Wales), or The Appeals Service (Northern Ireland), see Turn2us information on First Tier Tribunal Appeals