A new initiative aimed at speeding up the process for residents claiming housing benefits in Allerdale has been successful in cutting the amount of time people are waiting for support.
Allerdale Borough Council’s Customer Accounts team processed claims for housing benefit in an average of just 13 days in 2018/2019, according to the latest figures from the Government. The national average for new claims during the same time period was 21 days.
The council also processed changes to housing benefits claims in an average of 3 days compared to the national average of 6 days. The figures put the council in the top 10 per cent of local authorities across the country.
The improved processing times have been achieved through the team’s hard work as well as the introduction of a new appointment-based system by the council. When a customer contacts the council to claim help, a benefits specialist contacts them to check whether an appointment will best meet their individual circumstances and discusses what evidence is required to make their claim.
A convenient one-to-one appointment is then arranged, where the resident brings the necessary information with them and assistance is provided to make a new claim.
This system speeds up the process allowing a decision to be made on the same day. Most customers receive their award letters and new council tax bill at the end of their appointment. For customers wanting to make a new claim appointment, they should contact the customer services team on 0303 123 1702.
Cllr Paul Scott, Executive member for transformation, said: “For people needing to claim housing benefit speed is of the essence and I’m proud our benefits team is right up there with the quickest around.”
For those people who are unable to attend an appointment, we also offer an online claim form at https://www.allerdale.gov.uk/en/benefits/housing-benefit/.
If residents are on a low income, and claiming housing costs through Universal Credit, they may still be eligible for help with their council tax costs. To find out if you are eligible for help, please contact the council to make an appointment or alternatively visit their website.