Benefits appeals and reconsiderations

When you receive a letter giving you a decision about Housing Benefit, Emergency Assistance or Discretionary Housing Payments, or you receive a Council Tax demand giving you a decision about Council Tax Support, you have three options:

  • If you don’t understand the decision or want more information about it, you can ask for an explanation. This is called a statement of reasons.
  • If you disagree with the decision or think we have made a mistake you can ask us to look at the decision again. This is known as a reconsideration.
  • If the reason you think our decision is wrong is because your circumstances have changed, fill in the change of circumstances form instead.
  • If you want to appeal straight away you can make an appeal. The rules for Council Tax Support are different and you must ask us for a reconsideration first.

Whichever option you choose to take please do this within a calendar month of receiving your decision letter or revised Council Tax demand. 

If you are a landlord, you can only challenge decisions about direct payments or recovery of an overpayment.


If you want an explanation of the decision (statement of reasons), please contact the Benefits team. If you still disagree with our decision after you have received our written statement and wish to appeal against it, we will increase the one month time limit by the amount of time it took us to send you the statement.

In most circumstances you can ask us to look at our decision again. This is called a reconsideration.

Where people have asked for a written statement, we increase the one month time limit by the amount of time it took us to send the statement.

If you ask for a reconsideration, a different person will then look at the decision. We normally contact you within 10 working days to say whether our decision has changed and what any new decision is. 

If we change the decision and your award goes up we will backdate it to the date of the original decision.  If we change the decision, it could mean that your award goes down. You can appeal against this new decision if this happens.

If we don’t change our decision, we will tell you why. You then have a further month in which to make an appeal.

Ask for a benefits reconsideration or make an appeal form

Appeal against an Emergency Assistance or Discretionary Housing Payment decision

 

If you have asked for a reconsideration, and are still unhappy with our decision, you can make a formal appeal against the Housing Benefit decision. You have one calendar month to do this from the date you receive our decision, but if you have already asked for a written statement, we increase the one month time limit by the amount of time it took us to send the statement.

When you make an appeal, a different person will look at your claim. If we don’t change the decision or we decide you should get less benefit, we will send your appeal to the independent Tribunals Service and send you a copy of the document, this is known as a response. The Tribunals Service will arrange a hearing. They will write to you to ask if you want to go to the hearing, but you don’t have to be there.

We normally make decisions about Housing Benefit appeals within a calendar month.

To start your appeal, fill in the benefit reconsideration and appeal form.

Before you appeal against a decision about Council Tax Support or 2nd adult rebate, you must first ask us for a reconsideration of the decision.

We have two months to reply to you. If you are still not happy with our decision after we have replied to you, you may be able to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. This must be done within two months of the date of our reconsideration decision letter to you.

If we do not reply to your request within two months you can appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal without waiting for our reply.

The Tribunal cannot hear appeals about what is in the council’s scheme, only about the way the scheme has been applied in your case.

They will arrange a hearing and write to you to ask if you want to go.

To ask for a benefits reconsideration or make a Housing Benefit appeal, you need to fill in our online form. Requests for reconsiderations can be made by someone on behalf of the claimant, but appeals must be sent in the name of the claimant.

Ask for a benefit reconsideration or make appeal.

Before you start the form

You need to complete the form in one go – you can’t save it and go back later.

You will need to tell us which decision you disagree with, the date of the decision, and why you think the decision is wrong.

If it is more than a month since the decision, you will also need to tell us why you did not fill the form in earlier.

Supporting evidence

The benefits appeals and reconsiderations form tells you what evidence and further information we will need from you. You can upload documents as you go through the form.  

You can also upload documents separately – don’t delay sending the form because you don’t have documents ready. Use the further details box in the form to tell us when you will be providing the documents.

To see what types of document we accept as evidence and upload documents, see supporting evidence.

If you can’t upload your documents, you can bring them to one of our customer service centres or to a library, or post them to Benefits Section, Cheshire East Council, PO Box 622, Crewe, CW1 9JH.

Further information, help and support

For details of organisations who can give you advice about benefits, see Live Well – welfare benefits. For help with the online form, see help with online forms.

If you have asked for a reconsideration of an Emergency Assistance or Discretionary Housing Payment decision, and still disagree with the decision, you can appeal against the decision. This review will be carried out by a panel of Cheshire East Council senior officers. We normally tell people the panel’s decision within 20 working days of receiving the appeal. 

The panel’s decision is final. You can not appeal to an independent tribunal because Discretionary Housing Payments and the Emergency Assistance scheme are discretionary benefits. This means no-one has a right to get the support.

If you think we have not followed our DHP policy (PDF, 549KB) or our Emergency Assistance policy (PDF, 548KB)  correctly, you can take action through the Corporate Complaints procedure. For Discretionary Housing Payments you can also use the judicial review process.

To appeal against an Emergency Assistance or Discretionary Housing Payment decision, fill in the benefit reconsideration and appeal form.