Universal Credit is being rolled out fully in Torbay from September 2018 and will affect most working age people on Housing Benefit.  Find out how this affects you on our Universal Credit page.

The current processing time for new applications and changes to benefit claims is an average of 6 weeks. If you contact us with a general enquiry online we will reply to you within two working days.

When we have dealt with your claim for benefit we will send you a decision letter. The letter shows how we have worked out your benefit entitlement and you should check it carefully.

If you think our decision is wrong, you must contact us within one month of the date on our letter otherwise we may not be able to look at the decision again.

You can either:

  1. Ask for an explanation
  2. Ask us to look at the decision again
  3. Appeal against the decision
    Appeals must be made in writing and sent to us within one month of the date on our decision letter. It should include details of the decision you want to appeal against and why you think the decision is wrong. For an appeal to be valid it must be signed by the person making the appeal.

Full details of your appeal rights are given on the benefit decision letters sent to you.

If you make an appeal we will look at your claim again. If we can’t change the decisions, your appeal will be sent to the Tribunals Service unless you decide not to continue with it.

If you make an appeal we will look at your claim again. If we can’t change the decision, we will send your appeal to an independent tribunal who will consider whether the law has been applied correctly. If they do not think it has, they can change the decision.

If your appeal is sent to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service, we prepare a case which includes your appeal, details of the law and the facts used to make the decision plus supporting evidence and documents.

We will send a copy of the appeal papers to you and your representative (if you have one) as well as to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.  You should read all the papers carefully. If you do not understand something, you can ask an advice centre or solicitor to explain.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service will send you an enquiry form once they have received your appeal. It is important that you fill this in and provide any additional information they ask for otherwise they may end your appeal.

You can ask for either a hearing or to get a written response.

An appeal tribunal is heard by a Judge and completely independent of Torbay Council. They will only look at the evidence, the law and the circumstances at the time we made the decision you are appealing against.

If you do choose to go to a hearing you will have the opportunity to talk about your case with the Tribunal Judge.

Your appeal cannot be accepted if you appeal 13 months or more after the date on the decision letter.

If you make an appeal outside of the one month deadline but less than 13 months after we sent notifications to you, your appeal is considered to be late.

A late appeal may not be accepted unless there are special circumstances for the delay.

This could be something like:

  • A death
  • A serious illness
  • Absence abroad
  • A postal strike
  • Some other special circumstance which prevented you from making an appeal on time

You should explain why you could not appeal in time on the appeal form.

We will look at the reasons you have given for not appealing in time and consider whether the delay is justified.