Website URL : http://www.cherwell.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2500

Benefits FAQs

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Benefits


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Questions
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All Government agencies are linked so if I tell one about my change in circumstances they will tell the others?|
Q
Am I entitled to claim second adult rebate?|
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Can anyone ask for a home visit by a benefits officer?|
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Do I have to confirm all changes in circumstances for benefit claims in writing or would a telephone call be okay?|
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How can I arrange or request a home visit from a benefits officer?|
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How do I get a council tax reduction application form?|
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How do I get a housing benefit application form?|
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How effective is Cherwell at catching fraudsters?|
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How long have I got to inform you of my change in circumstance with regard to reductions?|
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How long will it take for my benefit claim to be processed?|
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I am in receipt of benefits from Department of Work and Pensions. Why have I received a council tax bill?|
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I am in receipt of income support/jobseekers allowance and I am starting work soon. Do I need to fill a new form in?|
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I am on benefit but have received a council tax bill, how can I appeal?|
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I cannot claim council tax reduction, can I claim second adult rebate?|
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I have received a council tax bill even though I am on benefit, why?|
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If I have been overpaid benefit and I am caught can I just pay the money back?|
Q
If I am claiming reduction and my financial circumstances change do I have to inform the council?|
Q
If I have been paid too much benefit, what will happen?|
Q
If I have not told you about a change of circumstances with regard to benefits that I knew that I should of, will I be prosecuted?|
Q
If I have savings can I still apply for council tax reduction?|
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If I have savings can I still apply for Housing Benefit?|
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Is information given about possible fraud confidential and anonymous?|
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What is a reduction overpayment?|
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What is second adult rebate?|
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Why do I need to provide so much evidence for my benefit claim?|

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Q
All Government agencies are linked so if I tell one about my change in circumstances they will tell the others?
A
WRONG, it is your responsibility to report a change.

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Q
Am I entitled to claim second adult rebate?
A
If you share your home with one or more adults who cannot pay towards the council tax and they are not your partner then you can claim second adult rebate.

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Q
Can anyone ask for a home visit by a benefits officer?
A
Home visits are only available for customers who have limited mobility, are elderly and housebound, seriously ill or partially sighted. Arrangements will be made for a visiting officer to call and help you with your housing/council tax benefit form. Contact our Customer Service Centre using the contact details on the right. They will ask one of our visiting officers to contact you to arrange a suitable time.

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Q
Do I have to confirm all changes in circumstances for benefit claims in writing or would a telephone call be okay?
A
All changes must be confirmed in writing and where applicable you must provide original documentation as proof.

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Q
How can I arrange or request a home visit from a benefits officer?
A
If you have limited mobility, are elderly and housebound, seriously ill or partially sighted we can arrange for a visiting officer to call and help you with your housing/council tax benefit form. Contact our Customer Service Centre using the contact details on the right. They will ask one of our visiting officers to contact you to arrange a suitable time.

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Q
How do I get a council tax reduction application form?
A
You can download the application form on the right (see downloads) or contact customer service by phone on 01295 227002.

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Q
How do I get a housing benefit application form?
A
Contact customer service giving your name and address including post code or call at any of the area offices.

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Q
How effective is Cherwell at catching fraudsters?
A
During the 2012-2013 tax year, the Investigations team sanctioned 75 offenders for their actions with 15 of those being convicted of criminal offences in the courts. In all cases investigated, the team proved fraudulent activity in 62% of them.

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Q
How long have I got to inform you of my change in circumstance with regard to reductions?
A
All changes must be reported straight away. If you need to provide evidence, for example if you have started a new job, but do not have any wage slips yet you must tell us about the change and you will be allowed time to provide evidence later.

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Q
How long will it take for my benefit claim to be processed?
A
Claims are dealt with as quickly as possible but may be held up if any of the proofs asked for on the claim form are missing. If the claim form is received with all supporting documentation and there are no further queries, payment will generally be made within 14 days. If you have not heard from the benefit section within 28 days, please contact customer service using the link on the right hand side of this page.

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Q
I am in receipt of benefits from Department of Work and Pensions. Why have I received a council tax bill?
A
In order to receive council tax benefit you will have needed to have contacted customer service and completed a council tax benefit application form. Please contact customer service on the right hand side of this page if you wish to discuss your entitlement to council tax benefit.

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Q
I am in receipt of income support/jobseekers allowance and I am starting work soon. Do I need to fill a new form in?
A
Ordinarily no. You simply need to tell us about your new circumstances in writing and provide proof of your income and capital. If you have been unemployed for 6 months and you, or your partner, are starting employment or self-employment, or are increasing your hours, you may be able to claim an extended payment.

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Q
I am on benefit but have received a council tax bill, how can I appeal?
A
Before you appeal you should contact customer service to check that your council tax benefit has been correctly calculated. If you disagree with the amount of benefit granted you may need to make an appeal.

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Q
I cannot claim council tax reduction, can I claim second adult rebate?
A
You may be able to get second adult rebate even if you do not normally get council tax relief.

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Q
I have received a council tax bill even though I am on benefit, why?
A
You may not qualify for full council tax reduction. You may have stopped getting income support and have not filled in a standard claim for council tax reduction.

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Q
If I have been overpaid benefit and I am caught can I just pay the money back?
A
If you fail to tell the benefit section about something that you know could affect your benefit; you could have committed a criminal offence. Whilst we always seek to recover overpayments you could also face prosecution.

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Q
If I am claiming reduction and my financial circumstances change do I have to inform the council?
A
Yes. You must inform us, in writing within a month, about any change that may affect your claim. For examples of some changes see more.

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Q
If I have been paid too much benefit, what will happen?
A
You will be expected to repay any overpayment.

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Q
If I have not told you about a change of circumstances with regard to benefits that I knew that I should of, will I be prosecuted?
A
Not necessarily, all cases are reviewed on their own merit. We are able to offer a range of allowances such as cautions and administration penalties. If you fail to turn up to interviews we would always seek to prosecute.

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Q
If I have savings can I still apply for council tax reduction?
A
Yes. There is a capital limit of £16,000 (unless you are a pensioner and are in receipt of pension credit). However, you should make a claim because some types of capital are disregarded or partially disregarded which could bring you below the limit.

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Q
If I have savings can I still apply for Housing Benefit?
A
Yes. There is a capital limit of £16,000 (unless you are a pensioner and are in receipt of Pension Credit). However, you should make a claim because some types of capital are disregarded or partially disregarded which could bring you below the limit.

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Q
Is information given about possible fraud confidential and anonymous?
A
Yes, we will not disclose any information about people who refer possible frauds to us. We are also happy to accept information anonymously.

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Q
What is a reduction overpayment?
A
An overpayment is an amount of reduction that has been paid to someone who is not entitled to receive it.

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Q
What is second adult rebate?
A
Second adult rebate is another form of council tax benefit. Instead of being based on your needs, it is based on the income of other adults in your household. Your income and savings will not affect entitlement to second adult rebate.

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Q
Why do I need to provide so much evidence for my benefit claim?
A
The benefits section likes to make sure your claim is assessed correctly from the start. It also has to comply with government regulations and guidance, and all evidence asked for on the application form is needed to assess your claim. If you do not provide this, your claim cannot be assessed.
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