Skip to content

How to appeal against a benefits decision

If you think a decision about your benefits or child maintenance is wrong, you can ask the office that made the decision to explain it. You can also ask them to reconsider it and if you're still unhappy, you can appeal against the decision to an independent tribunal.

If you disagree with a benefits decision

When the office sends you a letter about their decision, if you do not agree, you can ask them to explain or reconsider it.

If you're unhappy with a reconsidered decision you can appeal.

You can ask for an explanation or reconsideration of every decision, but some decisions cannot be appealed. The decision letter will make it clear if it can't be appealed.


You have one month:

  • after getting a decision to ask for it to be explained, reconsidered or to appeal
  • after getting a reconsidered decision to appeal

A late appeal may be accepted if you have special circumstances that prevented you appealing in time, but an appeal cannot be made after 13 months from the dates of the decisions outlined above

How to appeal a Social Security benefit decision

Information on how to appeal is normally included in the decision letter.

In benefit cases, it involves filling in the appeal form in the leaflet: 'If you think our decision is wrong' and posting it to the benefits office dealing with your claim.

You can pick up the leaflet at your local Social Security/Jobs and Benefits office or download it, below.

But if you are appealing in these cases follow the procedures below:

Child Maintenance

If you think that your child maintenance decision is wrong, or that some important facts or evidence have been overlooked, you should contact the Child Maintenance Service.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is dealt with by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) if you are a tenant and by Land and Property Services (LPS) if you are a homeowner. If you think that a decision about your Housing Benefit is wrong, or that some important facts or evidence have been overlooked, you should contact NIHE or LPS.

Decisions made by HMRC

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are responsible for decisions about Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Guardians’ Allowance. If you think a decision made by HMRC is wrong you can only appeal if you have asked HMRC to reconsider their decision. This is called a Mandatory Reconsideration. You can appeal the mandatory reconsideration decision by completing the appeal form NOA1(HMRC).

If you have received a decision you are unhappy with but you have not yet asked for it to be reconsidered, you should contact HMRC for information on Mandatory Reconsiderations before trying to appeal.

More useful links