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.
How to dispute social security benefit decisions is changing from 23 May 2016.
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.
- If you think our decision is wrong - leaflet GL24 (PDF 176 KB)
- Help with PDF files
- Social Security Agency (Department of Social Development website)
How you dispute social security benefit decisions is changing from 23 May 2016. From 23 May 2016 if you disagree with a social security decision you must ask for it to be reviewed before you can appeal the decision. This change applies to all decisions made on or after 23 May 2016.
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 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.
- How to appeal a decision about your Housing Benefit claim (NIHE Website)
- How to appeal your Rates Housing Benefit and Rate Relief decision
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.
- Form WTC/AP Tax Credits: if you think a decision is wrong (GOV.UK website)
- Tax Credits helpline
- Form CH24A Child Benefit or Guardian's Allowance: if you think a decision is wrong (GOV.UK website)
- Child Benefit Helpline