Saturday, 29 November 2008

Housing and Council Tax Benefit Decision notices

Thanks to falling on hard times I've recently had to claim Council Tax Benefit. To be fair the claim was processed fairly quickly (although the start date was wrong). However, when I received the standard decision notice something was amiss.

You see there are fairly strict laws which set out what information must be provided on a HB/CTB decision notice and one of the things that is required is notice of your right to appeal. This is important because not everybody realises that they can challenge decisions. I can only presume that if my decision notice didn't have this info on nobody else's does either.

So I dropped a little formal complaint in. Again fairly speedy turnaround but the response referred to every aspect of my letter (there were other issues around backdating and stuff which I included but weren't actually the subject of my complaint) except the issue of the decision notice. Instead they said that the three other letters I'd had from them all had their appeal rights and this is correct. They just forgot to mention the formal decision notice.

So I've emailed them back to look at it again. I'll let you know what they say. Could be quite a giggle because tens of thousands of these notices go out each year and if they're all unlawful...

What's more changes to standard letters in HB/CTB software orten take ages and lots of work. Part of me thinks I'm missing something cos it seems such a basic error and there may be a clue in the bit on the notice that says

"Please read the enclosed notes..."

Naturally there were no enclosed notes but I expect to be informed that appeal rights are explained in said notes and that NCC ALWAYS enclose them without fail. We'll see soon enough.

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