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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 not 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 HM Revenue & Customs with Tax Credits award data.

The second phase extended ATLAS to deliver notifications for a range of DWP benefits in 2012, with Personal Independance Payment and benefit cap notifications starting 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 start the data sharing required for Universal Credit and amalgamate electronic transfer of data notifications into the ATLAS infrastructure. This will reduce the administrative burden on the local authority, among others.

There is more information for local authorities in the ATLAS Awareness Pack, available on the ‘local authority data share (all LAs) workspace’ on Glasscubes, as well as other guidance and good practice, especially that relating to ‘batch processing’ and ‘automation advice’.

Glasscubes

Glasscubes is an online communication tool to share documents about local authority data sharing in a single, secure location. You can find the information in the ‘local authority data share (all LAs) workspace’. Glasscubes replaces Huddle.

Glasscubes also provides a forum to start and join in discussions between local authorities, DWP and local authority IT suppliers.

Request access to Glasscubes by sending your individual secure (GSX/GCSX/GSE) or standard email address to la-sst.hdd@dwp.gsi.gov.uk. Do not use a team email address.

Fraud and Error Reduction Incentive Scheme (FERIS)

Local authorities can get financial support for reducing fraud and error in Housing Benefit from the Fraud and Error Reduction Incentive Scheme (FERIS) and Performance Improvement Fund.

Reducing fraud and error in Housing Benefit: financial support for local authorities

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

    • 28 April 2014
    • Guidance
  6. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit guidance: Amendment 22

    • 15 June 2010
    • Guidance

Other DWP information for LA staff

DWP and local authority consultation groups

The DWP and Local Authority Associations Steering Group is the main forum for DWP to consult with local authority associations.

Two other consultation groups report to the DWP and Local Authority Associations Steering Group:

Other information for local authority staff

Other individual DWP guidance publications

  1. Housing Benefit subsidy guidance manual 2014 to 2015

    • 13 March 2015
    • Guidance
  2. HB and CTB subsidy guidance manual 2013 to 2014

    • 13 March 2015
    • Guidance
  3. Housing Benefit subsidy claims: local authority best practice guide

    • 20 March 2015
    • Guidance
  4. Housing Benefit claims processing guidance

    • 17 October 2013
    • Guidance
  5. Discretionary Housing Payments guidance manual

    • 2 April 2014
    • Guidance
  6. Data sharing guidance for local authorities

    • 30 April 2014
    • Guidance
  7. Housing Benefit overpayments guide

    • 27 February 2015
    • Guidance
  8. Housing Benefit overpayment recovery good practice

    • 16 February 2015
    • Guidance