Welfare Benefit Appeals
A wrong benefit decision can cost you your livelihood. If you think a benefit or tax credit decision is wrong, getting the right advice and guidance early can make all the difference and help you successfully challenge the incorrect decision.
What we do
At DV Solicitors we have an established expertise in social security law. Our team can help you understand the legal process to challenge a negative benefit decision and guide you step by step in preparing your case for a tribunal hearing.
Our solicitors are also able to provide professional advice and representation if you have been accused of benefit fraud.
We can assist with reviews, appeals and disputes against decisions made by:
Department for Work and Pensions,
Tax Credits Office of HMRC,
We have a track record of successful cases where we helped our clients to defend their entitlement to benefits.
Free Initial Enquiry
We offer a free initial consultation and would be delighted to help you. Please contact us on 01234 673 400 to book your free face-to-face consultation or discuss your case over the phone.
Our Recent Successes
Case study 1
Mr S’s entitlement to housing benefit was terminated by the local Council on grounds of notional capital in excess of £16,000. The local Council determined that Mr S intentionally deprived himself of the capital when he passed the proceeds of sale of his property to his daughter. We successfully defended Mr S’s entitlement to housing benefit by collating documentary evidence and legal arguments to demonstrate that Mr S did not intentionally deprive himself of capital as the sale proceeds of his property were distributed in accordance with the declaration of trust executed in favour of Mr S’s daughter years before Mr S started to claim housing benefit.
Case study 2
Mrs A’s Tax Credits were stopped because the Tax Credits Office decided that Mrs A was still living or financially linked with her husband from whom she was separated de facto but not legally. We successfully challenged the negative decision by pointing out various deficiencies in the evidence relied on by the Tax Credits Office and highlighting flaws in their reasoning. Mrs A’s Tax Credits were reinstated without the need for a Tribunal hearing.
Case study 3
Mr U had penalties imposed by HMRC for failing to timely pay High Income Child Benefit Charge (‘HICBC’). Mr U’s partner was receiving Child Benefit while Mr U’s annual income exceeded £60,000 and Mr U was unaware that he had to pay HICBC. We succeeded in getting the penalties cancelled by HMRC by presenting a factual argument on grounds of reasonable excuse and a legal argument highlighting flaws in the legislation relied on by HMRC to impose penalties in respect of HICBC.
Frequently asked questions:
Q. I made a claim for benefit but it has been unsuccessful?
A. You can request a review and, if the review does not result in a decision in your favour, you can appeal the adverse benefit decision to a Tribunal. We can evaluate your chances of success and guide you through the process.
Q. I have received a letter from my Jobcentre / Council / Tax Credits Office saying they suspect that I have committed an offence. I have been asked to attend an interview?
A. If you have been invited to attend an Interview Under Caution we can arrange for you to be represented at the interview to safeguard your legal rights. We can also ask for disclosure of the evidence the Benefit Office has against you. This helps us to advise you and discuss your options. In our experience getting the right advice at the earliest stage can make all the difference and help you avoid criminal proceedings at a later stage.
Q. I already requested a review of my benefit decision and the Jobcentre / Council / Tax Credits Office refused to change it. Is there any point in taking it further?
A. Benefit rules are complex and it is not uncommon for the rules to be misunderstood even by benefit officials themselves. If you appeal a benefit decision, your case will be reviewed by an independent Tribunal completely impartial and unconnected with the original decision-making authority. The tribunal judges, unlike benefit officers, are legally qualified meaning they are better equipped to apply the law correctly.
Q. Do I need a lawyer to challenge a benefit decision?
A. You do not have to have a lawyer in order to request a review or to appeal a negative benefit decision. However, in our experience having the right advice and representation ensures that your appeal case is prepared and presented in the best way possible thus significantly increasing your chances of success.
Q. Is there a time limit in which I need to challenge a negative benefit decision?
A. Yes and the time limits are quite strict. You should read the decision letter carefully to work out the time limit for taking further action. Missing the time limit may preclude your challenge and in any event will make the challenge harder as you will need to demonstrate that there has been a good reason for the delay.
Q. I am anxious about having to attend a Tribunal hearing.
A. Tribunal hearings are quite informal. The hearing will usually be held in a simple room with just a table between you and the Tribunal judge or panel. The Tribunal often consists simply of a single judge. Sometimes a medical expert may need to be on the tribunal panel depending on the benefit you are appealing. Prior to the hearing you and the DWP/Council/Tax Credits Office will have exchanged the case arguments with the Tribunal meaning the Tribunal will already have a good idea of the case.
This means any questions you will asked are likely to be simply to clarify particular points in order to enable the Tribunal to determine your appeal. If you have a lawyer representing you, it is possible that you may not need to speak at all. Furthermore, an appeal case that is well-prepared from the outset may force the original decision-making authority to overturn the negative benefit decision without any need for a Tribunal hearing. We have settled several cases in our client’s favour without the need for a Tribunal hearing.