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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > December 2010 > Benefits Waiting Time Slashed

Benefits Waiting Time Slashed for Borough Residents

Residents entitled to claim housing or council tax benefits from Bedford Borough Council are receiving their money almost a week quicker according to official figures.

 

Figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions show in the period from April to June this year the Council processed new applications and changes to benefit claims in just 10 days.  This is 6 days faster than in the same period last year and 3 days better than the national average.

 

Councillor Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Housing & Benefits, said: “When you are relying on benefits to help you pay your housing bills we know how important it is that you get the help you need as quickly as possible.  Over the last year the Council has introduced new computer technology to automatically read hand-written information on application forms. Alongside the hard work of our staff this has enabled us to pay benefits much faster.

 

“I firmly believe local residents will have seen an improvement in their service in the last year and we are committed to continuing to improve our service in the coming years as well.

 

“We have also cracked down on the small minority of people who abuse the system and claim benefits they are not entitled to.  So far this year 100 people have been punished for fraud with the most serious cases being prosecuted through the courts. Stopping this small minority of people abusing the system also helps to protect the benefits for those who are legally entitled to them.”

 

For more information about housing and council tax benefits, or to make a claim telephone 01234 718097.  If you suspect someone is claiming fraudulently you can report your suspicions free and confidentially by telephoning the Council’s fraud hotline 0800 917 8491 or online at www.bedford.gov.uk.

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