BENEFIT payments are back on track in Kirklees.
A huge build-up of 44,000 housing benefit claims was clawed back over two years by the end of 2003.
New Department for Work and Pensions figures show Kirklees has exceeded national targets for processing paperwork.
Countrywide, the average time to process new housing and council tax benefit claims fell from 53 days in the third quarter of 2002/3 to 47 days over the corresponding period a year later.
Kirklees Benefit Service is in the category of councils that are improving.
The processing time for new claims is 46 days, slightly better than the national average of 47.
Changes of circumstances are dealt with in eight days. The national average is nine days.
Clr Gordon Beever, Kirklees Cabinet member responsible for finance said: "Kirklees Benefit Service has shown continued and sustained improvement throughout the year in all categories where performance is measured.
"This includes accuracy, where 99% of claims are accurate."
Clr Beever said the target now was to process new claims in 36 days.
He added that customers could help by making sure they provided as much information as possible in supporting a claim.
Work and Pensions Minister Chris Pond praised staff when he visited Huddersfield in December.
He said housing benefit not properly administered had an impact on people's lives.
New hi-tech equipment was brought in to speed up claims in Kirklees.
However, Mr Pond warned: "Despite the improved trend, there are still too many councils taking too long to process claims."
He added: "Local people have a right to expect a high standard of service from their council."