Housing benefit and local council tax support privacy notice

Who we are and what we do

Gateshead Council, Benefits Section, Customer and Financial Services, Corporate Resources  

benefitenquiries@gateshead.gov.uk

0191 433 4646

 

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 calculate your Housing Benefit and or Local Council Tax Support claim.

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 Support 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 Support 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 Local Council Tax Support.

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 you do not agree with the assessment 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, assist in the processing of other benefits and in the recovery of outstanding amounts of housing benefit which has been overpaid.

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. We may also have to contact your landlord for information about the property.

If you have agreed that we can share information with your landlord, this means that we can tell them about the progress of your claim. If you are a tenant of The Gateshead Housing Company, we can share more information.

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.

We can share information collected as part of your Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support 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.

If you are a private tenant, we usually have to give the Valuation Office Agency Rent Service details about your home and rent.

 

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
  • Free School Meals
  • Residential care
  • Domiciliary care - such as day care, home helps and meals
  • Social Services

The information held by the council as part of your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support 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 identify and support people who are at risk of becoming homeless
  • help identify families who may benefit from the Families Gateshead service
  • help people living in a Council or 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 ten years after the last payment on the claim. If a claim has an outstanding overpayment, we will retain your information for ten years after full repayment of the overpayment.

If the claim has an active fraud investigation, we will retain all information until ten years after the end of the fraud investigation and conclusion of court action.

If your claim has never been paid or you did not qualify for Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support, we will retain your information for ten years after your claim was made.

If we have received information from the Department for Works and Pensions about your current benefit awards and you do not want to make a claim for Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support, we will retain your information for ten years after we were made aware of your benefit award.

 

Marketing and E-Newsletters

Please see the relevant section of our Corporate privacy notice.

 

Business Intelligence, Profiling and Automated-Decision making

Please see the relevant section of our Corporate privacy notice.

 

Protecting your information

Please see the relevant section of our Corporate privacy notice.

 

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'. 

The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. In the meantime, if you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, please contact us:

benefitenquiries@gateshead.gov.uk

0191 433 4646

Our postal address is: Gateshead Council, Benefits Section, Customer and Financial Services, Gateshead Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE8 1HH

 

Your information choice and rights

Please see the relevant section of our Corporate privacy notice.

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Please see the relevant section of our Corporate privacy notice.

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