Appeal a benefits decision

Information on how to appeal a Social Security decision, a housing benefit decision, a decision by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or a Child Maintenance Service decision.

Appeal a Social Security decision

Before you make an appeal, you must first ask the office that made the decision to formally reconsider it. This is known as a Mandatory Reconsideration.

Following this, you will receive a copy of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.  This is the letter or online notification which confirms the office that made the decision has looked at it again.

If you still wish to appeal against the decision following your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice, you must send your appeal to the Appeals Service.

Appeal form NOA1 (SS)

Download and complete appeal form NOA1 (SS) or request a form from the Appeals Service

Appeal in writing

You can also appeal by writing a letter to the Appeals Service instead of using a form. Your appeal must:

  • be in writing
  • provide reasons for the appeal
  • be signed by you or someone legally authorised to act on your behalf
  • include the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

Time limit for Social Security appeals

Your appeal must be received by the Appeals Service within one month from the date of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.

If your appeal is late, you must explain why.  There is space on the form to do this. 

Appeal a Housing Benefit decision

If you are a tenant, Housing Benefit is dealt with by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. If you are a homeowner, it is dealt with by Land and Property Services.

If you think a decision about your Housing Benefit is wrong, or that important facts or evidence have been overlooked, you should contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or Land and Property Services.

Appeal a decision by HMRC

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for decisions about:

  • Tax Credits
  • Child Benefit
  • Guardians’ Allowance

If you think a decision is wrong, before you appeal you must first ask HMRC to reconsider its decision. This is known as Mandatory Reconsideration.

Contact HMRC for information on Mandatory Reconsiderations before trying to appeal.

Following Mandatory Reconsideration you will receive a copy of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.  This is the letter or online notification which confirms the office that made the decision has looked at it again.

If you still wish to appeal following the Mandatory Reconsideration, you must send your appeal to the Appeals Service.

Appeal form NOA1 (HMRC)

You can download and complete appeal form NOA1 (HMRC) or request a form from the Appeals Service.

Appeal in writing

You can also appeal by writing a letter to the Appeals Service instead of using a form.

Your appeal must:

  • be in writing
  • provide reasons for the appeal
  • be signed by you or someone legally authorised to act on your behalf
  • include the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

Time limits for HMRC appeals

Child Benefit or Guardian’s Allowance appeals must be received by the Appeals Service within one calendar month of the date the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice was sent to you.

Tax Credit appeals must be received by the Appeals Service within 30 days from the date the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice was sent to you.

If your appeal is late, you must explain why. There is a space on the form to do this. In special circumstances, a late appeal may be accepted up to 13 months after the date the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice was sent to you.

Appeal a Child Maintenance Service decision

If you think your child maintenance decision is wrong, or important facts or evidence have been overlooked, you must first ask Child Maintenance Service to reconsider its decision. This is known as a Mandatory Reconsideration.

Following this, you will receive a copy of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.  This is the letter or online notification which confirms the office that made the decision has looked at it again.

If you still wish to appeal against the decision following your Mandatory Reconsideration Notice, you must send your appeal to the Appeals Service.

Appeal form NOA1 (CM)

Download and complete appeal form NOA1 (CM) or request a form from the Appeals Service

Appeal in writing

You can also appeal by writing a letter to the Appeals Service instead of using a form. Your appeal must:

  • be in writing
  • provide reasons for the appeal
  • be signed by you or someone legally authorised to act on your behalf
  • include the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice

Appeal a Compensation Recovery Scheme decision

Information and forms to appeal a Recovery of benefits decision or Recovery of Health Service Charges decision is on the Department for Communities website.

When your appeal is received

The Appeals Service will check it has all the information it needs. If information is missing, it will write to you. If you do not provide the missing information, the tribunal may decide your appeal cannot be accepted and no further action will be taken.

If you have sent all the required information, the Appeals Service will write to you to confirm your appeal has been received and provide information on what to do next. It will also write to the Department that made the decision you are appealing and ask it to prepare a written response to the appeal for the tribunal. You will be sent a copy of its response along with an information leaflet on what to do next. 

Benefit appeal hearings

Benefit appeal hearings are held by an independent tribunal. Information on what to expect at a tribunal and how to prepare for you hearing is available on the Benefit appeal hearings page.

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