Making a complaint

Take action to sort out the problem

Sometimes it is more important to spend your time getting a benefit problem sorted out than it is to make a complaint. Don’t get caught up with complaining and forget to sort the problem out. If you have a right to appeal against a benefit decision, do the appeal first.

What should I complain about?

You can make a complaint about things like

  • the way you have been treated by someone in a benefit office if they are rude or aggressive or say something that offends you
  • delays in getting your claim worked out, or getting it paid, or getting an explanation about a decision when you have given the benefit office all the information they asked for
  • being treated differently to other people because of a ‘protected characteristic’ like race of gender: this is discrimination. Choose What are protected characteristics below to find out more about discrimination
  • you should have been told something about your claim or about your legal rights but were not, like having a right to appeal
  • you do not have a right to appeal against a benefit decision and want to try and get compensation
  • you have been given bad advice or wrong information

Citizens Advice Bureau – what are protected characteristics

What to say

When you write a complaint letter or email, plan a complaint phone call or make a complaint in person, include these eight things.

  1. What went wrong
  2. When it happened
  3. Who you have talked to or wrote to already about the problem or who you got letters or calls from
  4. What effect the problem is having on you or members of your family
  5. What you want done to try and sort things out
  6. What you want the benefit office to do, to put things right like an apology in writing or compensation if you have lost out financially
  7. Your full name and address
  8. Reference numbers like your claim number and National Insurance number so the benefit office can quickly find the records they have about the problem

Citizens Advice Bureau – how to complain about benefits and tax credits

Turn2Us – complaints about your claim

Complaint Expert – making a complaint in person

Complaint Expert – making a telephone complaint

Who to complain about a benefit problem to

You complain to the office that works out and pays your benefit. Choose Who pays my benefit to check which benefit offices it is.

Who pays my benefits?

If you know who works out and pays your benefit choose one of the three options below.

Option 1 Complaining to Brent Council

Option 2 Complaining to the Department of Work & Pensions and Job Centre Plus

Option 3 Complaining to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs


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