More than £68 million was handed out in benefits to council and private housing tenants and housing associations in Northampton last year.
The figure, which has risen by just over £9 million in the last three years, reflects the increasing cost of renting in the town, Northampton Borough Council said.
The figures have been revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.
They showed an average social housing payment of about £2,700 and an average annual payment to tenants renting privately of about £5,300.
Although Northampton Borough Council administrates all claims, the amounts are dictated by central Government.
Councillor Mary Markham (Con, Obelisk), the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Even in a difficult economic climate the number of people receiving housing benefit has remained about the same, which shows we have a diverse local economy with employment opportunities.
“The increase in expenditure is linked to the increasing cost of renting in Northampton. What we’re doing is helping our tenants who want to move to a smaller and more affordable home.”
Northampton North MP, Michael Ellis, said: “These figures give the lie to those who suggest there have been savage and indefensible cuts in the benefits system.”