Published: Monday, 2nd October 2017
New online form makes applying for benefits easier and quicker.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich has changed the way that new claimants apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support by introducing an online claim form.
The move will make applications for benefits easier for residents and enable people to get their payments quicker. It's being brought in as part of the national shift towards claiming for benefits online including the further roll out of Universal Credit, which is due to be implemented in Greenwich by next June.
IT support for those who need it
The Woolwich Centre in Wellington Street will continue to provide support for people who do not have access to online facilities or who need assistance to make a claim. Four additional computers will be provided in the Woolwich Centre for people to make claims and staff will provide face-to-face help.
People can also use computers at the Council's 12 libraries across the Royal Borough - don't forget to take your library card.
Submit your claim from the comfort of your own home
A huge benefit of the new system is that people will be able to make claims and submit documents from their own homes at any time of the day, or even while on the move using mobiles or laptops.
The online form to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support is available on the Council's website. Ideally new claimants should have a working email address when submitting a new claim.
One month to complete an application
The form includes full instructions on how to make claims as well as a list of the evidence and documents that claimants need to provide. New claimants are advised not to delay submitting their forms as they will have one month to either upload supporting documents or drop them into council offices.
People who rent their homes and who are on a low income can apply for Housing Benefit which is means tested at the point of application. Council Tax Support can cover up to 85 per cent of the bills for people of working age and up to 100 per cent for pensioners.
Going digital - quicker and more efficient
Councillor Maureen O'Mara, Cabinet Member Customer Services and Anti-Fraud, said: "We are pleased to be now able to offer this new online form for new benefit claimants. The system will make it much easier for residents to make applications from their own homes and will help us to pay claims more quickly.
"We are aware of the need to support claimants who do not readily have access to online facilities or need assistance. We consulted widely with a variety of organisations on how we can best assist and inform residents.
"It's all part of the Royal Borough's digital strategy which aims to enable residents to correspond with us as much as possible online to streamline services and make them more efficient. The move to online communication increases accessibility to services hugely and it is particularly vital for those who struggle to attend council offices."