The Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Privacy Notice
Who we are and what we do
Allerdale Borough Council administers the Housing Benefit Scheme and the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
Customer Accounts Department, Allerdale Borough Council
Telephone: 0300 373 3730
Why we need your information and how we use it
The information we collect from you and the information provided to us by the Department for Work and Pensions is required to assess your Housing Benefit claim and/or Council Tax Reduction application.
We use the information you provide to administer Housing Benefit under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and associated Regulations and to administer our Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme under S13A and Schedule 1a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and associated Regulations.
- We will use the information to make you liable (if appropriate) for Council Tax at your address.
- We may use your information to help collect debts like Council Tax.
- We may use the information held to assist in the recovery of Housing Benefit Overpayments.
We have a duty to protect public funds we administer, and may use information held about you for all lawful purposes, including and not limited to the prevention and detection of fraud, disclosure of information to the police, matching council tax data with electoral registration records and protecting public funds in investigating misuse of public money.
In order to calculate Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction we collect information about, you, your partner, your children and other adults that live in your household.
This information includes; name, address, date of birth, National Insurance Number, email address, earned income and employment details, benefits and allowances, bank accounts, savings, investments, property ownership, rent paid, landlord details, immigration details and any other information required to calculate your Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction.
Depending on the data you have provided our computer systems may automatically re-calculate your benefit entitlement. For example if you or someone in your household has a significant birthday. If this happens you can ask for one of our officers to look at the assessment to make sure it is correct.
Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)
By law we must give out some information if we are asked, this includes (but is not limited to) the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue & Customs.
We are required by law to participate in National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data matching exercises and Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support information may be provided to the Cabinet Office for NFI purposes and will be used for cross-system and cross-authority comparison, for the prevention and detection of fraud.
We will also use the information for the purpose of performing any of our statutory enforcement duties. We will make any disclosures required by law and may also share this information with other bodies responsible for detecting/preventing fraud or auditing/ administering public funds. We may share the details with other organisations that handle public funds and assist in the processing of other benefits.
We do not contact your landlord about your claim, but if you get Housing Benefit paid direct to a landlord, we will give your landlord details regarding your payment dates and amounts.
If you have agreed that we can share information with your landlord, this means that we can give information about the progress of your claim to your landlord and we can tell them about the progress of your claim.
If you previously didn't agree to us sharing information about the progress of your claim with your landlord, but you change your mind after you have sent us your claim sheet, please tell us in writing that you now agree to share that information.
If you are a private tenant, we usually have to give the Valuation Office Agency Rent Service details about your home and rent.
We can share information collected as part of your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction applications with other departments in the Council, other Local Authorities the Department for Work and Pensions and, in some circumstances, your landlord and other organisations.
How information about you will be used
The information we hold, including details of any state benefits you may get, can only be shared for the following reasons:
To help with an application for one of the following Council services:
- Local Welfare Assistance
- A Discretionary Housing Payment
The information held by the council as part of your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction application can be shared with and used by other council services to:
- help decide whether you qualify for help and how much, if anything, you should pay
- help people living in a Housing Association property and who will be affected by the Benefit Cap and/or Under Occupation in the Social sector (by telling another part of the Council or your landlord, they will be able to advise you what you should do next and provide you with any assistance they can).
How long we keep your information
We retain your information for six years after the last payment on the claim. If a claim has an outstanding overpayment, we will retain your information for six years after full repayment of the overpayment.
If the claim has an active fraud investigation, we will retain all information until six years after the end of the fraud investigation and conclusion of court action.
How you can access, update, or correct your information
The Data Protection law gives you the right to apply for a copy of information about yourself. This is called a ‘Subject Access Request'. If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact the Council's Data Protection Officer. There is a standard form that you can complete and submit to us electronically on the Individuals’ Rights page on the website. You are entitled to receive a copy of your records free of charge, within a month.
In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.
Do I have other rights?
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows you other rights; for example, if there is an error in your records you have the right to make sure it is rectified or in certain circumstances, erased.
You have the right to be told if we have made a mistake whilst processing your data and we will report breaches to the Information Commissioner.
Please see the Individuals’ Rights page for more information.
The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. We are working to make our record keeping more efficient.
If you change your address or email address, your circumstances change or if any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, please use the standard form on the Individuals’ Rights page or email us at email@example.com , telephone us on 0300 373 3730 or write to us at Customer Accounts Department, Allerdale Borough Council, Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 3YJ.