|Your Right to Apply for an Independent Review
How to Apply for a Review
What the Review Involves
How long will it
The IRS Review
Your Right to Apply for an
You have the right to
ask for an independent review of the decision on your community care grant,
crisis loan, budgeting loan or overpayment decision if:
How to Apply for a Review
- you have had a
decision about your social fund application; and
- the decision has
been looked at again by a reviewing officer; and
- you are still not
satisfied with it. This can be because you have been refused payment or because
the payment you received was not enough.
Regulations require that all applications for a review
by a Social Fund Inspector must be sent direct to the IRS. You can write to the
IRS using the leaflet "Did you get what you wanted?" or in a letter, using our
FREEPOST address, explaining why you want a review. However, if an application
is sent to the Jobcentre Plus by mistake, they will arrange for the application
to be forwarded to us.
Jobcentre Plus office should send leaflet "Did you get what you wanted?" to you
with the decision made by the Reviewing Officer. "Did you get what you wanted?"
gives further information about the review but the main points are that you can
ask for an independent review about;
You can ask for an
independent review after you have had your application reviewed at the
Jobcentre Plus. The law does not allow a Social Fund Inspector to review a
decision that has not already been reviewed.
- community care
- crisis loans
- budgeting loans
- overpayments from
the social fund.
It is important that you do
each of the following as not doing so may delay your review:
When we receive an
application for an Inspector's review, we acknowledge its receipt and contact
the relevant Jobcentre Plus office as a matter of urgency to arrange for them
to send all the papers to us. Please allow a few days for the papers to
arrive at the IRS before enquiring about the progress of a review.
- Make your request
within 28 days of the Reviewing Officer's decision. The Inspector can allow
more time if there are special reasons. You will need to tell us why your
request has been made late.
- Say why you disagree
with the Reviewing Officer's decision.
- Sign your review
request and send it to us at: FREEPOST, Independent Review Service. It
does not need a stamp.
What the Review Involves
Your case will usually be given to an Inspector on the
day the paperwork from Jobcentre Plus arrives at this office.
Inspector will complete the review of your application as quickly as possible.
They will do this in a number of ways, depending on your case:
What does the Inspector need to know?
- If your case is
very straightforward and all the facts are already known and agreed upon, the
Inspector may decide it is right to make an immediate decision
- If there are key
gaps in the information, or if there is something you need to be made aware of,
and have opportunity to comment on, then the Inspector may decide it is best to
telephone you about this.
- If the Inspector
cannot contact you by telephone, or your case is very complicated, they may
decide to write to you with their questions.
If we write to you before the
review is completed, it is very important that you read the Inspector's letter
and try to answer any questions asked. You should also tell the Inspector if
evidence is missing or if there is anything else you think is important.
You can reply to the Inspector:
If English is not
your first language, and you would like to reply by phone, we can do this using
Language Line. See our Other Languages page in the Translation Services section
for more information.
- using the reply form
and pre-paid envelope he sends to you; or
- by telephone on 0800
096 1926 (between 9:00 and 16:30). Your call will be free from a landline. Your
call will not be free if you use a mobile phone, but we will be able to call
Step 3 - When the Inspector
receives your response he or she will make a decision on your case.
The Inspector will Decide
Whether the Jobcentre Plus Reviewing Officer's
decision was reached correctly and whether it was the right one in all the
circumstances of your case. The Inspector will decide this by looking carefully
at the facts of your case, how the Reviewing Officer made his decision, the
reasons for that decision and what you are unhappy about.
The Inspector will change
the decision if it is wrong. The Inspector will tell you the reasons for his
If the Inspector decides that a payment should be made
on your application the Jobcentre Plus office will make the payment.
Payments are not sent out by the IRS.
How long will it take?
We aim to clear all cases at the earliest opportunity.
Our service standards set out the details of how quickly you should receive the
Inspectors decision on your application.
If you apply for an urgent
need, such as living expenses or other needs where a very urgent decision is
required, we will treat your application as an express case. We aim to make a
decision on 90% of express cases within 24 hours of receipt of the papers.
For any other needs, we aim to make a decision on 90% of cases within
21 working days of receipt of the papers.
Do you have a complaint
about the IRS or a query about the decision?
If you are unhappy or have a query about the
Inspectors decision or the service we have provided you can contact our
customer service team.
on 0800 096 1928 (between 9:00 and 16:30) or fax on
Send an e-mail to: [email protected]
Or you can write to the
Customer Service Team at this address:
Independent Review Service
4th Floor, Centre City Podium
5 Hill Street Birmingham.
Deaf or hard
of hearing customers who have a textphone can call us on 0800 096 1929
(between 9:00 and 16:30)
impaired customers, who want a copy of our leaflets or decisions in Braille, on
audiotape or large print can call us on 0800 096 1927 (between 9:00 and
16:30). Go to our Visually
Impaired page for more information.
If English is not your
first language, and you have difficulty in understanding the information about
your review, we can send you copies of the most important documents in your own
language. See our Translation Services page for more