Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

Contact details

Advice and Benefits Service,
The Woolwich Centre,
35 Wellington Street,
London SE18 6HQ

020 8921 4900

Why we need your information and how we use it

The information we collect and the information provided to us by the Department for Work and Pensions is required for the calculation of your Housing Benefit and or Local Council Tax Support claim.

We 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
  • matching council tax data with electoral registration records
  • protecting public funds in investigating misuse of public money.

The information we hold, including details of any social security benefits you may get, can only be shared to help with an application for another council service, if you apply for one or more of the following:

  • free School meals, school clothing grants or school journeys grants
  • a Discretionary Housing Payment
  • Emergency Support/Local Welfare Assistance.

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
  • identify and support people who are at risk of becoming homeless
  • identify families who may benefit from the Troubled Families Programme
  • 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).
What is our power to obtain and use personal data?

We use the information in order to administer Housing Benefit under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and associated Regulations.

We use the information in order to administer our Local Council Tax Support scheme under S13A and Schedule 1a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and associated Regulations.

What type of information we collect

In order to calculate Housing Benefit and Local 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
  • earned income
  • benefits and allowances
  • bank accounts
  • savings
  • investments
  • property ownership
  • rent paid
  • landlord details
  • immigration details
  • any other information required to calculate your Housing Benefit and or Local Council Tax Support.

We need to collect and share information in order to deliver our services effectively.

Who we may share your information with

By law we must give out some information if we're asked, for example by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

We're 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'll also use the information for the purpose of performing statutory enforcement duties and we may also share this information with other bodies responsible for detecting and preventing fraud or auditing and administering public funds. We may share the details with other organisations that handle public funds and assist in the processing of other benefits.

We don't contact your landlord about your claim, but if you get Housing Benefit paid direct to a landlord, we give details about payment dates and amounts to your landlord. If you have agreed that we can share information about the progress of your claim to your landlord, we tell them where your claim is up to if they ask.

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're 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 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.

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 retain your information for six years after full repayment of the overpayment.

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

Version date
June 2019