This fact sheet is about complaints about housing benefit and council tax reduction (sometimes called council tax support). It should be read together with our ‘How to Complain’ webpage, available on the ‘Making A Complaint’ tab.
The Council is responsible for the administration of housing benefit and council tax reduction in its local area in accordance with the relevant law, regulations and government guidance. If you think that the Council has not done this, the Ombudsman may be able to help you with your complaint.
If you think that the Council’s decision is wrong, you should write to the Council in the first instance. If the matter is still unresolved, you may have a right of appeal against the Council’s decision to a statutory tribunal.
If you are claiming universal credit or any other state benefits e.g. employment support allowance or personal independence payments, and you are unhappy with the service you have received, you should contact the office you have been dealing with in the first instance. Thereafter you may be able to complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. You can contact them by telephone on 0345 015 4033.
More information can be obtained at www.Ombudsman.org.uk
You can find information about appealing against a council’s housing benefit decision at www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/sscs
You can find information about appealing against a council’s council tax reduction decision at www.Valuations-Tribunal-Wales.org.uk
You can also get free, independent advice about your welfare rights from your local Citizens Advice, details of which can be obtained at www.citizensadvice.org.uk
The Ombudsman is independent and impartial; he cannot order public bodies to do what he recommends – but, in practice, they almost always do. Examples of cases that the Ombudsman has looked at can be found on our website, under the ‘Publications’ tab on the ‘Our Findings’ & ‘The Ombudsman’s Casebook’ pages.