Your rights and duties

What to do if you think your benefit details are incorrect

If you think our decision on your benefit claim is incorrect, please contact us within one month of the date of this letter using the contact details overleaf, explaining why you think it’s not right. 

If you want to know how we have calculated your level of benefit, you can: 

  • Ask for an explanation by phone or in writing.
  • Ask us to look again at the decision. This request must be in writing.
  • Appeal against the decision. This must be in writing. If you appeal an independent tribunal administered by the Appeals Service will hear your appeal. 

What you need to pay

Council Tax    
The weekly benefit shown on your letter will be converted to an annual figure. We will work out how much benefit you will get and take this amount from your Council Tax bill. You are responsible for paying the difference. Council Tax is rounded to the nearest whole penny to calculate weekly benefit.

You are responsible for paying the difference between the benefit awarded and your full housing costs. If you are a private tenant, you will receive either a payment into your bank or building society account or your landlord will be paid directly. If you are a council tenant, your benefit will be paid directly to your rent account.

Disputing Council Tax Reduction

If you are disputing a decision that affects your Council Tax Reduction for a period from 1st April 2013:

  • You should write to the Benefit Section stating why you think the decision is wrong. There is no time limit, but ideally, we would like you to write in within one calendar month of the date of our decision. We will look at original decision within two months of when we receive your dispute letter and write to you with our decision. 
  • If you decide to appeal against that decision, you must contact the Valuation Tribunal Service (VTS) within two months of the council’s decision and include a copy of the council’s decision with your appeal form. If the council does not write back to you within two months, you can still appeal to VTS, as long as not more than four months have passed since you wrote to the council to dispute this.

Change in circumstances

You must tell us about any changes in your circumstances which might affect your claim. You may lose benefit if you fail to tell us of the change within one month. Overpayments resulting from a failure to notify changes of circumstance will be recovered from you. You are responsible for telling us about changes to your circumstances.

Examples of changes you must tell us about include:

  • A change in your or your partner’s income or savings.
  • Someone leaving or joining your household.
  • Changes to your rent.


Pensioners receiving pension credit should report any changes to their income to the Pensions Service. Any other changes, including those listed above, should be reported to us. If you receive a Savings Credit, you should notify us and the Pensions Service about any changes.

Extra help

If you are still struggling to pay your rent or Council Tax and feel that you are experiencing financial difficulties, please contact us for further details on what help may be available.

Do you have any questions?

If you have any questions, please contact us on the number below. Our opening times are: 

  • Monday, Tuesday and Thursday – 8.30am to 5pm. 
  • Wednesday – 8.30am to 4pm. 
  • Friday – 8.30am to 4.30pm.  

You can make an appointment to speak with one of our team, by calling 01883 722000, e-mailing or writing to Benefits Department, Council Offices, 8 Station Road East, Oxted, Surrey RH8 0BT.

If you’d like independent advice, please contact your local Citizens Advice at Caterham on 03444 111444 or at Oxted on 0800 144 8848.

Your earned income - if you are working, any earnings will be shown here as a weekly figure.

Any other income - any other type of income you receive, including any partner’s earnings, child benefit, state pensions, private pensions or tariff income from capital.

Your total capital - this is the total amount of capital and savings held.

Your weekly eligible rent - this is the amount of rent on which benefit can be paid and can be less than the amount of rent you actually pay, due to rent restrictions and other ineligible charges. 

Ineligible weekly fuel and service charges - an estimated amount of any charges you’ll need to pay in your rent for things like fuel charges, water rates and laundry provision. These can be amended if you can provide evidence of the actual charges.

Non-dependent deductions - other adults (including children aged 18 and over) living in your home. Some of them may be expected to contribute towards your rent and council tax. If other adults are living with you, a deduction from your benefits may be made, according to that individual’s income.

Applicable amount - the weekly figure the government has calculated you’ll need for day-to-day living expenses, dependent on your individual household circumstances. 

Late notification - where changes are notified to us more than one month after the event has taken place. Where this happens, a claim is amended from the Monday following the change, unless the change has meant that benefit has been overpaid.