First Tier Tribunal appeals process - Response from the Benefit or Tax Credit office
If you appeal against a benefit or tax credit decision a First Tier Tribunal will deal with your appeal. This guide goes through the process of what happens after your appeal is received.
Response from the Benefit or Tax Credit office
The benefit or tax credit office will send the Tribunals or Appeals Service, as well as you (or your representative), their response to your appeal. This will include:
Copies of forms you have completed.
Copies of all information or evidence you have sent to them.
An explanation of how they came to their decision including the law they have based it on.
Read all the papers you receive carefully and note anything that you disagree with.
If anything in the letter from the Tribunals or Appeals Service is wrong, contact them straight away.
If you think that something important is missing from the benefit or tax credit office's response (like a letter you sent to them), ask them to add this to the appeal papers.
Complete the enquiry form and return it along with any further information or evidence within 14 days. Otherwise they may think you don't want to continue with your appeal and cancel it.
The enquiry form that you will receive and must return helps the Tribunals or Appeals Service to arrange your appeal hearing.
You will be asked if you want your appeal dealt with as:
an oral hearing where you and/or a representative appear in person to answer questions about your claim; or
a Paper hearing where the Tribunal just look at the evidence on paper without you or your representative present.
You may have a better chance of winning your appeal if you attend the hearing.
If you would like to attend and have accessibility needs, you should mention this on the enquiry form.
A suitable venue can be arranged with any equipment that may be needed.
The Tribunals or Appeals Service can cover the cost of transport so that you can attend your appeal. The clerk at the tribunal can refund these expenses on the day of the hearing.
If you will need a translator or a signer, you should also mention this on the enquiry form so it can be arranged in time for the hearing.
If you have arranged for someone to represent you at the appeal, you should put their details on the enquiry form.
If you can't find someone to represent you at the hearing, an adviser may still be able to help you put together your case, collect evidence to support your appeal, and prepare you to represent yourself.
You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.
The enquiry form also asks you to provide any further information or evidence to support your appeal. You should provide as much new relevant information as you can.
This could be:
A medical report from your GP or consultant.
Extracts from relevant Council Tax legislation.
Case law to support your appeal.
If you are waiting for evidence, such as a letter from your doctor, put this on the form.
If you choose a paper hearing, you should send as much relevant information and evidence as possible. Make it clear what you think the decision should be and why, as this is all the Tribunal will see when making their decision.
The next page explains what happens at the appeal hearing.