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House of Lords written question – answered on 2nd November 2011.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Opposition Whip (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the average end-to-end processing times for new claims of (a) income support, (b) job seeker's allowance, (c) employment support allowance, (d) housing benefit, (e) child tax credit, and (f) working tax credit.

Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The average claim processing time for income support (IS), jobseeker's allowance (JSA), and employment and support allowance (ESA) is referred to as average actual clearance time (AACT).

For IS, the start date is the date the claim satisfies all the evidence requirements. The end date is the date a formal decision is made on the claim and a notification is issued to the customer on entitlement.

For JSA and ESA, the start date is either the date the customer first contacted Jobcentre Plus or the customer's first day of unemployment/sickness, whichever is the later. The end date is the date a formal decision is made on the claim and a notification is issued to the customer on entitlement.

The latest information we have is for September 2011, and this is listed below.

AACT in month September
IS 7.5 days
JSA 9.5 days
ESA 9.2 days
AACT Year To Date September
IS 7.1 days
JSA 9.6 days
ESA 10.0 days

The source of the above data is the Management Information System Programme (MISP). MISP is the departmental performance management, data capture and reporting tool. This type of internal management information does not form part of the official statistics outputs that are released by the department in accordance with the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice.

The average processing time for housing benefit new claims in 2010-11 was 22 calendar days. Housing benefit is administered by local authorities on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. Housing Benefit Official Statistics are informed by results from data submitted to DWP by each local authority on a monthly basis via the Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE). The latest Official Statistics for Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit processing times are available via the DWP website at with results for quarter 1 2011-12 released at 26 October 2011.

Child (CTC) and working tax credits (WTC) claims are administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The time taken to process a new claim for tax credits can vary depending on claimants' circumstances. HMRC are paying new child (CTC) and working tax credits (WTC) claims in an average of around 26 calendar days against a target of 23 days. The source of this data is the core national tax credit system.

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