Challenging a Housing Benefit decision - Appeal against the decision

If you think a Housing Benefit decision is wrong, you may be able to get it changed.

Last reviewed 20 July 2023

Appeal against the decision

An appeal is a way of telling your local authority or the Housing Executive (Northern Ireland) 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 your local authority or the Housing Executive (Northern Ireland). You can appeal a Housing Benefit decision without having to ask for a reconsideration first.


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.

Your local authority or the Housing Executive (Northern Ireland) may have their own appeal form that you can use.

You should contact your local authority or the Housing Executive (Northern Ireland) to find out how to make an appeal in your area.
If you decide to appeal by writing to your local authority or Housing Executive (Northern Ireland) make sure you include the following details:

  • Your name and contact address
  • Your
  • The date of the decision you are appealing against
  • The decision you are appealing against
  • Why you think the decision is wrong
  • Your signature and the date.

If you don't include all these details your appeal may have to be returned to you.

Time limit

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.

Late appeal

If you missed the appeal 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 your local authority or the Housing Executive (Northern Ireland) doesn’t think you have a good reason for appealing late, they will pass your request to the Tribunal Service or Appeals Service (Northern Ireland) who will decide if your appeal can be accepted or if it is too late to be heard.

Possible outcomes

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 appeal on to Tribunal Service or Appeals Service (Northern Ireland)

If your appeal carries on, your appeal form will be sent to HM Courts and Tribunals Service, 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 Appeals Service (Northern Ireland), see Turn2us information on First Tier Tribunal Appeals

 Reviewed: February 2022


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