Housing Benefit Appeals What can I do if I think my benefit is wrong? I want you to look at the decision again How do I make an appeal? What happens if I appeal late? How does the tribunal work? What can I do if I think my benefit is wrong? If you have received a decision letter (a letter telling you how much benefit you will get and how it has been calculated), you can ask us to: talk to you about the reasons for our decision; and send you a written statement of the reasons for our decision. You must ask us within one month of the date of the decision letter. If you still disagree with our decision, you can: ask us to look at it again; and appeal against the decision. I want you to look at the decision again You must tell us in writing that you want us to look at the decision again. You must do this within one month of the date of the decision letter, or within one month of the date we gave you a written statement of the reasons for our decision. We will look at our decision again, and tell you: we have changed our decision and what our new decision is; or we are not going to change the decision. If we are not going to change the decision and you still think it is wrong, you can make an appeal within one month for your case to be heard by a tribunal. How do I make an appeal? You must write to us within one month of the date of the decision letter to tell us that you want to appeal. You must write down the reasons for your appeal. This is very important because the tribunal which hears your appeal does not have to look at anything you have not mentioned in your letter. You must sign the letter. What happens if I appeal late? We will only accept a late appeal if special circumstances caused the delay - for example, a death, a serious illness, or a postal strike. You must give the reasons for the appeal being late in your letter. We cannot accept a late appeal if 13 months or more have passed since the date of the decision letter. How does the tribunal work? The tribunal is made up of people who are not from Neath Port Talbot Council and who have the knowledge and expertise needed to deal with your appeal. There are two types of hearing: an oral hearing which allows you or your representative (or both) to attend in person and explain the case to the tribunal; and a hearing on paper which means that the tribunal will consider the written evidence that we have given them. You do not go to the hearing but a copy of the decision will be sent to you. The tribunal can only look at the evidence, the law and the circumstances at the time we made the decision you are appealing against. The tribunal cannot look at changes in your circumstances that happened after we made our decision. However, if your circumstances have changed, tell us straightaway as it may affect your benefit. If your appeal is successful, we will change your benefit as soon as we receive a copy of the tribunal's decision. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you may be able to make a further appeal to the Social Security Commissioners - but only on a point of law.