Help to Claim - our privacy policy

When you use the Help to Claim service, we collect personal information about you so we can support you. We have a ‘legitimate interest’ to do this under data protection law.

We will collect your personal information:

  • by talking with you over the phone or webchat

  • when you leave a message asking us to call you back

  • if you send back a feedback form to us by email or via a link

  • to investigate complaints 

Information that the Department for Work and Pensions send us 

If you are  referred to the Help to Claim service by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), they’ll give us the following personal information about you:

  • your first and last name

  • your postcode

  • your mobile and home phone number

  • your email address if you have one 

  • how you want us to contact you - your local Citizens Advice will always contact you through your chosen method

The DWP are allowed to share some personal information with us because they’re a government department. On some occasions, the Jobcentre might share some information about you with us. They’ll do this usually when they need us to help you with your claim and the legal basis they use for this is called 'public task'. 

What information we ask for

If you approach the Help to Claim service directly, we will ask for the same personal information about you. 

To further support your specific needs, we may need to record other details about you such as information about your health. This type of information is known as ‘special category data’ and we'll always ask for your consent to record this.  We also ask for your consent to record other types of special category data such as:

  • ethnicity

  • religion

  • health conditions

  • sexual orientation 

  • trade union membership

You can withdraw your consent at any time or if you tell us the information you don’t want us to store, we’ll delete it. 

If you wish to remain anonymous, we'll only record information about your problem and make sure you're not identified.

We may need to record information about other people you know, such as members of your household or a person you are supporting, to help us give you accurate advice. We’ll always make reasonable efforts to get consent from that person to store their special category data. 

Sometimes, it might not be appropriate for us to contact that person, for example because of mental capacity or severe illness, or because delaying our advice in order to get their consent could cause detriment to somebody. In this case, we’ll use a substantial public interest condition called the ‘Counselling’ provision as our legal basis for processing their data.

How we use your information

We use the information you give us to support you with your problem.

If we need to, we have a legitimate interest to access your personal information for other reasons such as:

  • for training and quality purposes

  • to investigate complaints

  • to evaluate and improve our services

  • to get feedback from you about our services

  • to respond to nuisance chats

We’ll always balance our interest against your rights and freedom when we use your personal data.

We sometimes use a research company we trust to do this on our behalf. If we use an external research company, we’ll only disclose the personal information necessary to deliver the research, and we’ll always ask your permission first. We have an agreement with them to make sure they store your personal information securely and follow data protection laws. 

We’re responsible for keeping your personal information safe and making sure we follow data protection law.

All our volunteers and staff who have access to your data have data protection training. This is to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

When we share your information

Sometimes we might need to call the DWP’s Universal Credit Helpline so they can help you with your claim. We’ll always ask your permission to do this first.

If the DWP needs to carry out an audit of a local Citizens Advice office, we’ll ask your permission before sharing any personal information with them.

We may share your personal information with other organisations. For example, when you need more support and advice about issues like debt or housing. We’ll only do this if you give us your permission.

In rare cases, we might need to share your information without your permission. This is where we might have concerns about your wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone else.

We won’t ever sell or share your information with other organisations for their own marketing purposes.

Where we store your information and for how long

Whether you get advice over the phone, by web chat or video chat, our advisers will store your information, correspondence, and notes on our secure case management systems.

Our case management systems are hosted within the EEA and wherever possible, the UK.

We’ll only keep your information for as long as necessary. In most cases, this will be for 6 years after you’ve accessed our service.

If your case is high-risk or has been subject to a serious complaint, insurance claim or other dispute we keep the information for 16 years.

If you get advice over the phone

If you contact the Help to Claim service helpline, calls are recorded by our trusted partner, stored within the UK or EEA, and processed in line with UK data protection law. Recordings are usually held for 6 months and then deleted.

On rare occasions it may be necessary to process data outside of the EEA, where this applies the lawful and relevant data protection safeguards are in place.

If you contact us online

Our chat advisers will log the information you give us when they chat with you  and a copy of the advice given is stored in our secure case management system.

In most cases, the chat transcript or email form is also stored on an online system run by our trusted partner LivePerson. This is stored securely within the UK/European Economic Area (EEA) in line with data protection law and data is deleted after 13 months.

If you use our British Sign Language (BSL) translation service

Our BSL translation service is provided by SignVideo. Interpreters at SignVideo will translate information that you share with them during the call. SignVideo won’t store any of your information.

Contact us about your information

You can contact us at and ask us to:

  • send you the information we’ve stored about you, including chat transcripts

  • change or update the information we have about you

  • delete your information from our records or withdraw your consent

  • to stop using your information  

You can read more about how we use your information.

If you want to make a complaint

If you're not happy with how we've handled your data, you can make a complaint through our website.