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Challenging a Housing Benefit decision - Ask for an explanation

If you think a Housing Benefit decision is wrong, you may be able to get it changed.

Ask for an explanation

You should ask for an explanation of the reasons for the decision if you are unsure whether the decision is right or if you want more information to help you challenge the decision.


England, Scotland and Wales: Contact Local Authority

Northern Ireland Tenant: Contact Housing Executive

Northern Ireland Homeowner: Contact Land and Property Services 

Use the contact details on your decision letter and ask them to explain the decision.

You should also tell them why you think the decision is wrong as they may be able to change it without needing to go any further.

If your first language isn't English, they should provide an interpreter to explain the decision.


If you telephone your local authority or Housing Executive / Land and Property Services (Northern Ireland), make a note of:

  • The date and time you call
  • Who you speak to
  • What is said

This may come in useful if you want to try to get the decision changed.

Time limits

You should ask for an explanation of the reasons for the decision as soon as possible, as there are strict time limits if you want to go on to challenge the decision.


If you request a written explanation of the reasons for the decision within one month of the date on the decision letter, the time limit to challenge the decision will be extended. The new limit will be:

  • One month and 14 days from the decision date (if the written reasons are provided within one month of the decision date); otherwise
  • 14 days from the date the written reasons are provided.

This only applies if the reasons were not provided in the decision letter you received. If you are in any doubt, stick to the usual time limits.

Possible outcomes

An explanation will usually be provided by telephone but must be in writing if you requested a written explanation.

If you ask for a written explanation for the decision, you will usually receive this within 14 days.

After hearing or receiving the explanation, you may agree with the decision, or you may think the decision is wrong.

If you think the decision is wrong, for example, because it was based on information that was wrong or they did not have all the information, you should tell them. They may be able to change the decision and send you a new decision letter without you needing to go any further or they can explain what you can do next.

If you still think the decision is wrong

You can have the decision looked at again or you may be able to appeal against the decision. See the next page for more details

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