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
“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.