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What is a housing benefit appeal?

When you make a claim for housing benefit, we make a decision after considering all the facts and evidence that you provide, taking into account benefit legislation. A decision letter is then sent to you, advising how much your benefit entitlement is and what figures we have used to make our calculation.

We always aim to make the right decision, but if you disagree or would like us to reconsider our decision, you can request this, in writing within one calendar month of the date of our decision. Your appeal rights will be on the reverse of your decision letters.

You should post any request for a re-consideration or a request for an appeal to:

Benefit Services
Ashford Borough Council
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Kent TN23 1PL

Or you can email your request to benefits@ashford.gov.uk.

What happens next?

A benefits officer, who has had no previous part in the decision-making process, will look again at all the facts about your benefit claim to make sure the decision was made correctly.

If the officer decides the decision was wrong, then it will be changed. This could be from the date the first decision took effect, or from an earlier or later date. Whatever part of your claim is changed, you will be told in writing what we have done and why.

If the benefits officer does not agree that a mistake has been made in the way your benefit was worked out, then you will also be told this in writing. You will be asked if you want the details of your claim to go to the Appeals Service, who are completely independent of the council.

What is a council tax support appeal?

When you make an application for council tax support, we make a decision after considering all the facts and evidence that you provide, taking into account our local council tax support scheme. A decision letter is then sent to you, advising how much your award is and what figures we have used to make our calculation, as well as a revised council tax bill if applicable.

We always aim to make the right decision, but if you disagree with the decision you may notify the council that you are not satisfied. There is no time limit in which you can do this, and we will aim to respond to you within 2 months.

If you are then still not satisfied with our response, you must appeal to the Valuation Tribunal within two months of our notification. Before the Valuation Tribunal will accept any appeal from you, you must have first raised the matter with the council. Visit the Valuation Tribunals website for more information. Alternatively, write to them at:

CTR Team
Valuation Tribunal Service
Hepworth House
2 Trafford Court

Telephone 0300 1231033

or email appeals@vts.gsi.gov.uk

What if I have a query about how you have worked out my housing benefit or council tax support entitlement?

Once you have read your decision letters, if you don't understand why we have made our decision, or you need further clarification, you can write in asking us to explain our decision. This is called a request for a "statement of reasons". A letter will then be sent to you explaining your benefit calculation in more detail.

What if I want to complain about the way my claim for housing benefit and council tax support has been, or is being dealt with?

You can ring and ask to speak to a senior revenues and benefits officer, who has day to day responsibility for the processing of housing benefit and council tax support claims. If they cannot give you a clear answer or explanation, then ask to speak to the revenues and benefits manager. If you are still not satisfied with what you are told, follow the council's complaint procedure.

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