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Changes in circumstances

The law says you must tell us if there is any change to the information we have used to calculate your housing benefit or Council Tax Benefit/Support.

You should tell us within one month of the change happening. We may need to change the amount we pay you, or stop your benefit completely because of a change. We recommend that you tell us as soon asa change happens.

If you delay telling us about a change, we may go on paying the same rate of benefit as before and you could be overpaid benefit you are no longer entitled to. We will expect you to pay back any benefit that you are overpaid.

If you take more than a month to tell us of a change that would give you more benefit, we can only increase your benefit from theweek after the date you told us. If there are strong reasons that explain your delay we may be able to pay the extra money from an earlier date, but we cannot guarantee that.

If you don't report a change that you knowwill affect your benefit, and don't have a good reason for this, you are committing a criminal offence, just as if you gave us false information or concealed the truth.

How to tell us

You can do it online, using My eAccount. Once you've registered for thisserviceand we've verified your details,you will be able to access My Benefits. In this section you can tell us about achange in your circumstances online at a time that's convenient to you, as well as being able to view your housing benefit, council taxsupport and council taxaccount.

Or, visit the How to contact us page of the website for other ways of telling us about your change in circumstances.

What you need to tell us about

You need to tell us about any change that could affect your benefit, for example, if there is any change to your or your partner's:

  • benefits
  • income
  • capital or savings
  • rent or accommodation (if you are a council tenant you don't need to tell us about any rent changes)
  • tax credits

Please also tell us if:

  • you change your address
  • the number of people in your home changes
  • anyone who lives with you starts or stops work
  • there is any change in the income of someone who lives with you
  • a child leaves school.
  • you leave your home temporarily.
  • you are going abroad (outside of Great Britain).
  • you, or your partner, become or stop being a student

We cannot list all of the changes in circumstance that you should tell us about, but if you are not sure whether we need to know please tell us anyway.

What happens next?

When you tell us that your circumstances have changed we will write to you if we need more information. If we write to you, you should provide the information we ask for within one month of the date we asked for it.

To make sure we pay you the right amount of benefit we might ask for proof of the change such as new wage slips, tax credit award letters or bank statements.

We may suspend payments of your benefit if the change in your circumstances means that you are entitled to less benefit. We do this to help prevent overpaid benefit. We will tell you in a letter if we suspend payment of your benefit. We will continue to make payments at the new rate when we have received all the information from you to make a new decision about your benefit. If you are no longer entitled payments will stop.

We will usually tell you how much benefit you will get within 14 days after we get all the details from you. This letter is called a decision notification letter. This letter will tell you how we have worked out your benefit. You should read this letter carefully to make sure your benefit is correct.

The decision notification letter will tell you what to do ifyou do not agree with our decision, or you can visit theDisagreeing with our decision page of the website for more information.

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