Housing Benefit claims processing and good practice for local authority staff

Information for LA staff on claims processing, performance and good practice to help them provide good Housing Benefit services.

This information is for local authority staff who process claims and administer Housing Benefit, including Local Housing Allowance.

HB manual updates

We update the Housing Benefit guidance manual frequently through Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit ‘A circulars’. We also publish a list of ‘A circulars’ showing which part of the guidance they affect. Please read the relevant circulars in conjunction with the guidance they relate to.

Council Tax Benefit references

Publications may include references to Council Tax Benefit as this benefit was provided by local authorities alongside Housing Benefit through to March 2013. In April 2013 Council Tax benefit was replaced by local authorities’ own council tax support and reduction schemes, removing DWP’s involvement. DWP guidance does cover these local schemes. Readers will need to consider references to Council Tax Benefit in the light of this information, as it is not possible or appropriate, to remove or amend all the references.

Model forms

Model claim forms and completion notes are available on the National Archive.

These forms are for local authorities and partner organisations only and are not for use by customers.

Information is available for people wanting to know more about Housing Benefit, eligibility and how to claim.

Local Authority Data Share (LADS) Delivery Team

The LADS Delivery team are part of the Housing Delivery Division LADS Programme, responsible for the delivery of IT and strategic data sharing initiatives, from DWP to local authorities. Automated Transfers to Local Authority Systems (ATLAS) has already increased the amount of information that can be sent automatically to local authorities in a format that allows direct loading into their systems.

The first phase of ATLAS was successfully rolled out to all authorities on 4 July 2011, providing Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs with Tax Credits award data.

The second phase extended ATLAS to also deliver notifications for a range of DWP benefits in 2012, with Personal Independance Payment and benefit cap notifications commencing in 2013.

DWP are continuing to build on the ATLAS IT infrastructure to deliver even more customer data to local authorities. The largest part of this will be to initiate the data sharing required for Universal Credit as well as the amalgamation of Electronic Transfer of Data notifications into the ATLAS infrastructure, reducing the administrative burden on the local authority, amongst others.

Local authorities are advised to refer to the ATLAS Awareness Pack, available via the Local Authority Data Share Huddle, as well as other provided guidance/good practice especially relating to the batch processing/automation advice.


Huddle is a communication tool that allows all the relevant documentation regarding local authority data sharing to be available on-line in a single secure location. It also provides the ability to start and join in discussions between local authorities, DWP and the local authority IT supplier.

Huddle access can be requested by providing either a secure (GSX/GCSX/GSE) email address or a standard email address. Due to some local authorities having restrictions on receiving the invitation from a non-secure email it is advised to request access via a standard e-mail address. The email address can be changed in Huddle after registering if desired.

All relevant information relating to data sharing initiatives is available on Huddle through the Local authority data share (All LAs) Huddle workspace.

If you wish to receive a Huddle invitation please provide an individual (ie not team) email to LA-SST.HDD@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit manual

This manual is for the administration of the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit schemes by local authorities and housing authorities in Great Britain.

  1. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit guidance: Part A

    • 1 November 2009
    • Guidance
  2. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit guidance: Part B

    • 13 September 2013
    • Guidance
  3. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit guidance: Part C

    • 13 September 2013
    • Guidance
  4. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit guidance: Part D

    • 1 November 2009
    • Guidance
  5. Housing Benefit circulars affecting guidance manuals

    • 2 January 2014
    • Guidance
  6. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit guidance: Amendment 22

    • 15 June 2010
    • Guidance

Support for claimants

  1. Support for Housing Benefit claimants to meet any rent shortfall

    • 18 December 2013
    • Guidance

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