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Cost of living support

Financial advice and emotional support on how you can ease the cost of living squeeze.

Benefits Customer Service Standards

Uttlesford District Council's Benefit Service

What you can expect from us

One of Uttlesford District Council's priorities is to provide a high performing customer focused Benefit service. To help us do this, we have developed a set of service standards which show the level of service you can expect from us and what we expect from our customers.

What we do:

  • We pay Housing Benefit to help people with their rent and we pay Local Council Tax Support to help people with their Council Tax.
  • We can award Discretionary Housing Payments to people in receipt of Housing Benefit who need extra help for a short period. e.g. awaiting move to smaller or cheaper accommodation.
  • We liaise closely with the Corporate Enforcement team who investigate and take action against Benefit fraud.

We will:

  • Give advice and support on rent or Council Tax matters.
  • Give advice on your entitlement to Benefits, discounts and put you in touch with other departments both within and outside the Council that may be able to offer help and advice.
  • Help you complete claim forms and in some circumstances visit you at home to advise and complete forms and obtain evidence to support your claim.
  • Provide private interview facilities both in the home, at the Saffron Walden office or in the Great Dunmow library.

Our staff will:

  • Treat customers with courtesy and respect at all times.
  • Find out our customer's needs and meet them where possible.
  • Help customers who need extra support.
  • Help customers access relevant services in another part of the Council or partner organisation.
  • Give customers information about services including what they can expect and when.
  • Listen to customers comments, suggestions and views.
  • Staff will carry a corporate identity badge at all times when meeting customers.
  • Staff will dress appropriately for work.

Our aim:

  • We will determine all new claims within 14 days of receipt of all supporting evidence required as requested on the claim form.
  • For changes of circumstances we aim to deal with the reassessment of your entitlement within 10 working days of receipt of all relevant proofs of the change.
  • We will make a first payment of housing benefit within seven days of a decision.
  • All letters will be clear and easy to understand. Should the customer find they need an explanation of the contents of a letter then staff will be available to help and advise.
  • We will visit you at home within 5 working days of your request if you have mobility or health problems or cannot deal with the benefit issues by coming into one of our offices.

Help us to help you:

  • Please have your Benefit Claim reference number to hand when you contact us.
  • Please quote your name and benefit claim reference number on all correspondence and emails that you send to us.
  • Please provide all original supporting documents when you make a claim for benefit or have a change in your circumstances. The claim form tells you clearly what you need to provide. Please do not send photocopies as we cannot accept them.
  • If you are Self Employed please provide your latest audited accounts. If you have recently started your business and do not have these please ask us for a Self Employed Income and Expenditure form. Please do not send in receipts or invoices, we are not able to collate this information together.
  • Please tell us immediately when you have a change in your circumstances. If the change means that we overpay you then you will be asked to repay anything that you were not entitled to.
  • If you do not understand something that you have been sent or you do not agree with a decision that we have made then please contact us immediately. The longer you leave it the more difficult it may be to solve the issue.
  • When you move home please tell us straight away of your move and your forwarding address. If you do not do this and we continue to make payments towards your rent you will have to pay back any overpayment.
  • If you suspect that someone may be fraudulently claiming benefit or help with their Council tax then please tell us.

The Council expects its employees to treat members of the public with respect and expects the same from members of the public in their dealings with staff even if you think that we have done something wrong.

Whist the Benefit team aim to help our customers in the best way that we can Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support is governed by legislation and because of this we may not always be able to meet all expectations.

If you are unhappy with the service that you receive from Uttlesford District Council's Benefit Service please speak to a member of staff who will help you with your complaint and explain the procedures.