A NEW service has been set up to help benefits claimants in Huddersfield.

Kirklees Council's Revenues and Benefits service has today announced it has set up a new visiting team to improve its service.

Staff will routinely visit customers who receive housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Customers will need to confirm that their circumstances haven't changed since they originally claimed benefit, ensuring that the benefit payments they receive are accurate.

Clr Gordon Beever, Cabinet member for finance and legal services, said: "The Government has replaced the old system for reviewing housing and council tax benefit claims.

"In the past all customers have had to complete a new benefits claim form either once or twice a year.

"The new rules require councils to use a combination of home visits, telephone and postal checks to ensure benefit entitlement is being paid correctly and accurately.

"Customers are selected depending on their personal circumstances such as income type, age and household circumstances.

"Although we are undertaking routine visits, customers must continue to notify the revenues and benefits section when they have had a change in their circumstances which may affect their entitlement to benefit."

Letters will be sent to customers selected for a visit, and all visiting staff will carry Kirklees Council identity badges.

The new rules will make it more difficult for fraudsters to claim benefit they are not entitled to, and any errors will be corrected earlier.

Clr Beever added: "In addition to the thorough checking of customers' current claims, the team will provide expert benefits advice in the customer's home, when the customers are unable to contact the office themselves.

"This service will be available soon, once staff training has been completed."