Camden housing benefit claimants wait more than a month for first payment

PUBLISHED: 11:30 15 February 2018

Camden residents are facing a longer wait for housing benefit payments. Picture: PA.

Camden residents are facing a longer wait for housing benefit payments. Picture: PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

New housing benefit applicants in Camden are having to wait more than a month for their claims to be processed. This could lead to eviction and possible homelessness according to a leading housing charity.

Between July and September last year, new claimants waited on average 38 days before their application was completed, according to data from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The figure is significantly higher than the British average of 22 days, which includes weekends.

This waiting time can be worrying for applicants, and the housing charity Shelter says they can be threatened with eviction and face homelessness.

Over the same period in 2016 applicants had less time to wait with an average delay of 26 days.

MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq said the delays were worrying. “With financial pressures on councils causing resources to be spread more thinly, it is deeply concerning that local residents are experiencing lengthy delays to housing benefit payments, with the waiting time reaching almost double the national average.

“Delayed payments can cause significant anxiety and generate a real sense of helplessness.”

She is also concerned about the introduction of Universal Credit to Camden later this year. “It has already caused chaos in other areas of the country. It is therefore crucial that this issue is addressed as soon as possible.”

Charities have warned that delays in processing the means-tested benefit can have a serious impact on the applicants’ lives.

Polly Neate, Shelter chief executive, said: “Processing delays and admin errors mean landlords are increasingly reluctant to let to anyone on housing benefit.

“Payments are also too low and completely out of synch with the cost of private rents. This has left too many struggling renters battling against the tide to keep a roof over their head.

A Camden Council spokesman said: “We took prompt action to increase the number of staff handling these claims after we saw a rise in applications during July and September last year. Average times have steadily improved since and we are now assessing new claims in 30 days. We will continue to work hard and find further ways to reduce waiting times.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories


Camden’s planners have recommended approving the controversial building of an eruv – a Jewish boundary that allows for several exceptions to Shabbat laws – around the borough.


Camden Council has written to the Government in protest at how difficult it is to block planning applications for the new “unwanted” phone boxes that are telecoms companies are erecting around the borough.

A murder investigation has been launched after a 25-year-old man was stabbed to death in Tufnell Park last night.

Yesterday, 16:03

A man has appeared in court over a hit and run crash which killed Camden man Richard Dougherty last month.

Yesterday, 10:26

“Today’s ruling [...] focuses on procedure rather than the merits of the scheme.”

Yesterday, 10:24

A cycling campaigner has blamed CS11’s legal defeat on Transport for London’s “watering down” of the project – and said it is time for London mayor Sadiq Khan to “improve his politics game”.

Yesterday, 09:18

Westminster North MP Karen Buck joined parents and children to protest the sudden closure of Queen’s Park Nursery.

Yesterday, 08:07

Campaigners from Greenpeace staged a protest outside the Camden High Street Marks and Spencer on Saturday to urge the high street giant to crack down on its use of single-use plastic.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now