This privacy notice sets out how Merton will use and process your information under the Local Welfare Support Scheme and Universal Support service.

Why we need your information

Merton Benefits Service needs your information to decide whether you are eligible for help under the Local Welfare Support scheme and Universal Support Service.

The lawful basis for using your information

We collect and use your information for reasons of a public task, legitimate interest and legal obligation. Please note that if you do not consent to provide the information we have asked for under the Local Welfare Support Scheme and Universal Support we will not be able to provide these services.

In order to assess eligibility and decide whether to award 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, immigration details and any other information required to decide  your request for support.

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

We may share information collected with other departments in the Council, including:

  • Housing Benefits
  • Council Tax
  • Financial Assessments Team
  • Housing Needs Team
  • Electoral Services
  • Blue Badge team
  • Adult social care

    We may also share your information with
    1. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
    2. Other Local Authorities
    3. Suppliers who deliver goods and services on our behalf. For example, we will pass on your phone number to a supplier to contact you.

When we share information with Housing Benefit or DWP, you should be aware that if you are not declared on a HB or Council Tax Support claim as part of the household, we will add you to the claim as another adult living in the household. This may affect any HB or UC being claimed at the address.

Information collected from clients referred under Universal Support Delivered Locally will be shared with Merton and Lambeth Citizens Advice Bureau who provide Personal Budgeting Support under this service. You will be required to sign a consent form with your DWP Jobcentre Work Coach to authorise this.

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 and housing benefit data to the information you have given us and protecting public funds in investigating misuse of public money.

By law we must give out some information if we are asked - for example by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue & Customs.

We will also use the information for the purpose of performing any 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.

How long we keep your information

We retain your information for six years after the last payment on a 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 6 years after the end of the fraud investigation and conclusion of court action.