How the benefits service is performing
Dealing with new claims and changes
We keep track of our performance and also report on it to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The DWP oversees all councils' benefits services throughout the country. They have two performance indicators to make sure we deal promptly with:
- new claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support; and
- changes that affect customers getting these benefits.
We regularly count how long it takes us to deal with new claims and changes, and we publish the results every three months. The table shows the figures available so far for the 2015/2016 financial year. Senior managers set the target figures that we aim to achieve.
'Days to process new claims' is normally the average number of days between the date we receive a claim in our office and the date we make a decision on the claim.
'Days to process changes' is the average number of days between the date we were told about the change and the date we dealt with it, if we were told about the change after it happened.
If we were told before the change, but didn't deal with it until after the change, it's the number of days from the date of the change to the date we dealt with it.
How the Benefits service is performing in 2016/17
|Target for the year||April to June 2016||July to September 2016||October to December 2016||January to March 2016||Annual result|
|Days to process new claims||20 days||23.7 days||23.4 days||24.6 days||25.9 days||24.4 days|
|Days to process changes||12 days||10 days||11.5 days||12.3 days||6 days||10 days|
See how the Benefits service performed in earlier years
Getting a decision faster
We can only make a decision on a claim straightaway if we have the full information and evidence that we need from the person claiming. If we don't, we may have to write and ask for it. So, although it took on average 27.4 days for us to make a decision on new claims in 2014/15, we can process a new claim more quickly than this when you give us all the evidence and information we ask for with your claim form.
More information about the evidence we need
Telling us about changes
Once you've given us your claim, you need to tell us straightaway about any change that could affect your benefit. Tell us as soon as you know about the change, from the moment you've filled in your claim form.
- The fastest way to tell us is by using our online changes in circumstances form.
- Or tell us in writing, or by calling at one of our reception points.
We usually need evidence of the change, so include it when you report your change if you can. When you use the online changes in circumstances form it tells you what evidence we need and how to provide it.
If you don't tell us about changes, we may pay you too much benefit and you'll have to pay it back.