Discussing your benefit claim with other people

When you make a Housing Benefit and/or a Council Tax Reduction application we sometimes need to discuss your claim with other people.

Your claim includes many personal details and it is important for you to know that we treat any information you give us as confidential.

We will not normally discuss it with anyone except you, unless you give us your permission. By following the Data Protection Act we aim to ensure that we protect your privacy.

Sharing information with your Landlord

Sometimes sharing information with your landlord helps us to deal with your claim quickly, so there is less risk of you falling behind with your rent.

We will only share information with your landlord if we have your written permission.

If we have your written permission we will be able to tell your landlord:

  • Whether or not you have claimed Housing Benefit and, if so, whether we have decided on your claim or not;
  • If we need more information to help us decide on your claim and if so, what information this is.

We may need to check other information with your landlord, such as the date that your tenancy started, before we can make a decision on your claim. If so, we may have to ask your landlord, even if you have not given us permission to discuss your claim with them.

Unless you have given us permission by signing a statement that we may do so, we will not discuss anything else with your landlord.

We will not give your landlord any information about:

  • Your personal or household circumstances;
  • Your financial circumstances.

If you do not give us permission to discuss your claim with your landlord, it will not affect your claim. If you give us permission and then change your mind, we will follow your wishes.

Appointees

If you are unable to deal with your claim yourself, your claim can be made by an 'appointee'.

This is someone who represents you when you cannot represent yourself, for example because of serious illness. The appointee takes over all of your rights and responsibilities in relation to the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claim on your behalf.

Generally we will accept an appointee if they are:

  • A receiver appointed by the court of protection;
  • An attorney;
  • A person appointed by the Department for Work and Pensions to deal with other benefits on your behalf.

In some cases we may accept a written request from anyone aged 18 and over to be an appointee, for example:

  • A friend;
  • A relative;
  • A social worker;
  • A solicitor

In these cases we must first consider whether there is any conflict of interest. You should therefore contact us for advice if you wish to choose one of the above as your appointee.

Discussing your claim with your family or representatives

We can also give information to someone who is acting on your behalf, including family members. However, we need to be sure they are doing so with your knowledge and consent, so we would ask for your written permission in these circumstances.

You should always sign any claim forms yourself unless you have an appointee.