Updated: 23 Feb 2018
During 2016/17, we paid a total of £674.5m in Housing Benefit.
At the end of March 2017 there were 161,809 tenants claiming Housing Benefit (65,228 in Housing Executive tenancies, 29,416 in housing association tenancies, 65,736 in private rented sector tenancies, and 1,429 hostel claims).
Additional financial assistance was also delivered to 15,600 private sector claimants through the Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme, with awards totalling £3.3m being made over the course of the year.
New claims were processed on average within 16 days of receipt of the claim with 48.5% of these being processed in under 10 days, while changes were made on average in 3.7 days of our being notified of the change.
We maintain our focus on the prevention and detection of fraud and error in the housing benefit system. During 2016/17 sanctions were taken against more than 308 claimants for benefit fraud and we recovered over £13.7m of overpaid Housing Benefit.