Social Security benefit complaints

Social Security offices are run by the Department for Communities. Find out how to complain about the service you’ve received or mistakes that have been made.

This page is only for benefit complaints. To appeal a benefits decision, visit Appeal against a benefits decision.

How to complain

Contact the office dealing with your case. The address and phone number will be on letters you’ve received.

When you complain by phone, you will be:

  • asked questions to confirm your identity
  • asked about benefits you are receiving or have claimed
  • asked to detail your complaint
  • advised by a member of staff what will happen next with your complaint or where to get more information if you want it

If you complain in writing, include:

  • your name and contact details
  • details of what happened and when
  • reference numbers and relevant information

If you’re unhappy with the response

If you’re not satisfied with the response, you can move to stage one of the complaints process.

Stage one

Raise your complaint directly with the office manager. The office dealing with your case will give you their name and address.

Your complaint will be acknowledged within two working days and answered within ten working days.

If your complaint can’t be answered within ten working days, the office manager will write to you to explain the delay and the expected date of reply.

Stage two

If you aren’t satisfied that the office manager has settled your complaint, you can write to the director. The reply you receive from the office manager will tell you who to contact.

You will need to outline why you are dissatisfied with the initial response. Your complaint will be acknowledged within two working days and answered within ten working days. If your complaint can’t be answered within ten working days, the director will write to you to explain the delay and the expected date of reply.

Independent review

If you have gone through stages one and two and are still not satisfied, and you want an independent review into your complaint, you can contact the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman or Independent Case Examiner.

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