Lambeth Council is the first London borough to introduce a fully automated way of claiming benefits online. This new way of claiming benefits will dramatically improve the current process.
From now on Lambeth’s most vulnerable people will have faster and easier access to the benefits they are entitled
This new innovative online service, now available on Lambeth’s website, promises to make claiming housing and council tax benefit in Lambeth faster, more accurate, easier and greener.
The on-line tool has two elements. Residents can use the benefit calculator to work out whether they are entitled to housing benefit, council tax benefit, income support, pension credit or tax credit.
If they find they are entitled to council tax or housing benefit, which are administered by Lambeth Council, they are able to claim using the online form. They simply fill in the online claim form, which takes about 20 minutes, and submit it directly to Lambeth’s assessment database.
This can be done in the comfort of home, at one of Lambeth libraries or at one of Lambeth’s customer centres where there is free internet access to Lambeth’s website.
As well as making claiming benefits quicker and easier, because claimants no longer need to fill in the paper form, it is also the greener, more environmentally friendly way to claim.
Claimants can still complete the paper form if they prefer but the online form significantly reduces the time it takes to process benefit claims. People who apply online for housing benefit and council tax benefit should get their benefits sooner.
David Ashmore, divisional director for revenues and benefits at Lambeth Council, said: “The development of our online benefit claim and calculator is positive given the current economic climate and our wider commitment to reducing our environmental impact.
“For our residents, there is potential for quicker turnaround from claim to allocation. This means some of our borough’s most vulnerable people will get access to the money they rely on sooner.
“There is also an environmental benefit as this innovation reduces the need for paper, thus saving trees, which in itself has an economic impact for the organisation because this solution means cash savings due to the reduction in the costs of buying and printing paper forms.”
Councillor Jim Dickson, Lambeth Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources, added: “The introduction of the electronic benefit claim and calculator supports the council’s drive to support residents in the economic recovery.
“We were one of the first councils in Britain to form a dedicated think tank to explore ways of supporting our residents in the recession, and helping them get access to benefits sooner was on our list of recommendations. I am delighted that this innovative and clever technology will support some of this borough’s most vulnerable people.”
To find out if you are entitled to benefits and to make a claim for housing benefit and council tax benefit visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/benefitsonline.