Your Customer Contract for Benefits
This is our promise of what you can expect from the Benefit Service in Tameside ...
We want to make sure you are getting the maximum benefit that you are entitled to. We want to be sure everyone entitled to claim does so. We will do all that we can to ensure these aims are achieved. This is why we are making promises about our Benefits Service. Promises which will ensure that you get the correct amount of Benefit to which you are entitled and that it is paid promptly.
Quite Simply a Promise...
- To set and maintain high standards
- To tell you what those standards are
- To provide a friendly service
- To pay Benefit promptly and accurately
- To listen to any complaints you might have
- To put any problems right - quickly
How we will help you to Claim
We will provide a quick and friendly service:
- When you visit us you will be seen within 15 minutes and even quicker outside lunchtime
- You can be seen in a private interview room
- You can make an appointment for a specific time it that is more convenient to you - just ring us
- Help you complete your claim form
- Tell you if you are entitled to Income Support, Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit
- We will make sure that your letters are answered within 5 working days of receiving them.
- We will answer the telephone promptly
- Up to date Benefits information will be available to take away
- We will keep all your details confidential
We will try and make claiming your benefit as quick and easy as possible
How long will it take to sort out my benefit?
- We will write to you within 10 working days of receiving your claim if we need more information. We will send you a pre-paid envelope
- We will work out your benefit within 10 working days of receiving your claim and all supporting evidence
- We will tell you within 5 working days how we worked out your benefit.
Your claim will be sorted out and a decision made within 2 weeks from the time we get all the information we need.
How will I receive a payment?
You will receive payments 4 weekly in arrears or in certain cases we will pay the benefit directly to your landlord or landlady. You will be paid your benefit payment directly into your bank account. If you are owed payment and need it urgently (eg - to prevent being evicted) we can arrange a payment quickly.
How can I help my payments to be made quickly?
You can help by providing information quickly. For instance, proof of your identification, proof of your income, National Insurance Number, savings and rent. You can give your full name, address and reference number each time you contact us to help speed things up. It is important that you let us know if your circumstances change. If you have a telephone number, please let us know.
What happens if you pay me too much benefit?
We will make every effort to make sure payments are accurate. But if we pay you too much benefit by mistake this will not be recovered unless we think it was reasonable for you to have known about it. If we pay you too much benefit because you did not tell us your circumstances had changed we will always have to recover the money.
We will tell you how much has been incorrectly paid and how this happened. If money has to be paid back it can be done all in one go, a bit at a time but at regular intervals, or deducted from future payments. You can object to a decision to recover the money and about how it is intended to get it back, but if it is finally decided that some sort of repayment must be made and you do not make any arrangements to do so, we may be forced to take legal action.
Help us to avoid making wrong payments by telling us of any changes in your circumstances
Please tell us immediately of any changes in your circumstances which may affect the amount of housing benefit you get.
These are some of the changes which should be reported
- Change in type or amount of income for you, your partner or anyone else living with you.
- If you move house
- If someone leaves or comes to live with you
- If you have a child that leaves school
- If you stop getting child benefit for someone
- If you stop getting Income Support or income based Jobseeker's Allowance
- If you or your partner are in hospital for 6 weeks or more.
What happens if we make a mistake?
Your benefit is checked regularly to make sure it is right. When a mistake is spotted we will correct it by the next day and make sure the payment you are due reaches you within one week.
We will correct mistakes within one working day
What is the Council's attitude to fraud?
The Council is committed to the fight against fraud. False claims for benefit will be rooted out and information will be exchanged with other organisations to stop public money being lost in this way. Use this benefits fraud form if you suspect somebody is committing fraud against the council
What if you disagree with our decisions?
If you are unhappy about any decisions we have made, please tell us and we will explain out decision to you. If you still think it is wrong after we have explained it to you, we will look at it again.
For some decisions, you can appeal to an Independent Tribunal who can change the decision if they agree that it is wrong.
There are time limits when asking for decisions to be looked at again and for appealing. We tell you about these time limits in our webpage called 'If you think the decision about your housing or council tax benefit is wrong.'
Get in touch if you have any questions
You can call in or phone any of our Customer Service Centres.
Please contact us, we will try to help you as much as we can. Council Officers are always able to talk to you about your benefit.
For further information regarding the above please contact
You can also get help from
If you are unhappy
If you have had recent dealings with us and did not receive this level of service or are unhappy with the content of the above statement please let us know by contacting the Complaints Officer.