Government to make council tax benefits easier to claim

The government is piloting a simpler system to claim housing and council tax benefits.

Evidence for the benefits is collected and verified alongside income support, jobseekers allowance and incapacity benefit in three districts across the country.

Currently, anyone applying for housing or council tax benefits has to present the required evidence to their local council. If they apply for jobseekers allowance, income support or incapacity benefit as well they have to take similar documents to a Jobcentre Plus office. This means people are often asked the same questions twice.

The pilots are taking place in Calderdale and Kirklees, Buckinghamshire and Gateshead and South Tyneside.

Malcolm Wicks, work and pensions minister, says: “This pilot supports the drive to provide a single seamless benefit service. Many people are wondering why they have to tell different parts of the government the same thing twice.

“We need to test better ways of providing a simpler system. The pilot is one of the approaches we are looking at to improve standards of housing benefits administration and supports our aims to provide incentives to move people from benefit into work and cut fraud.”