Change in circumstances
The law says you must tell us if there is any change to the information we have used to decide whether you are entitled to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction (or both). You should tell us immediately, in writing, of any changes in your circumstances.
- Advise us of a change: Changes in circumstances online form
- If you move house: Change of Address form (PDF, 274KB)
We may ask you to supply some evidence to support the change in your circumstances.
You should tell us straight away, even if you're still waiting to hear from us about your claim, and even if you've already told someone else like the Department for Work and Pensions or your landlord.
In this section, we tell you the type of changes you have to report, particularly about starting work or about changing address, and what happens if you don't tell us.
Changes you have to report
You need to tell us about any change that could affect your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction.
Please tell us if:
- you start or stop getting Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit
- there is a change to your or your partner's income
- you start or stop getting any tax credits
- the money you or your partner gets increases or decreases
- the money any non-dependants get increases or decreases
- there are any other changes in the money that people in your home get. For example, if someone starts getting Disability Living Allowance
- you change your address
- the number of people in your home changes (for example, someone has a baby or someone moves out)
- a partner comes to live with you
- a partner leaves
- you go into hospital
- if you're a private tenant, if your rent goes up or down
- you leave the property for longer than 13 weeks
- you, or your partner, become a student or stop being a student
- the amount of savings or investments you have changes.
You do not have to tell us about changes in age, for example, if
one of your children becomes 11, as we will have this information
already. If you are not sure whether any changes affect your
Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, tell us anyway.
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, tell us anyway. Don't leave it until the next time you fill in a claim form or we contact you.
Tell us about any changes
You should tell us within one month of the change happening. If you don't, you could lose Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction.
If you don't tell us, we're likely to go on paying the same rate of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction as before and this may be wrong. If you don't tell us, or are slow to tell us, we may have paid too much. We will expect you to pay it back, and we may take it out of the Housing Benefit we're still paying you.
For Council Tax Reduction, we'll take the money back out of your Council Tax account so you will get a revised bill showing that you have to pay more.
If you take more than a month to tell us about a change that would give you more Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, we can only increase your benefit/reduction from the Monday after the date you told us. If there are good reasons that explain your delay, we may be able to pay the extra money from an earlier date, but we cannot guarantee this.
You could be committing an offence if you don't tell us about changes and be subject to an investigation if we find out about the change in some other way. If you fail to notify us of a change of circumstances in order to continue to receive benefit/reduction, you are committing a criminal offence that is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
How to notify us of a change in your circumstances
Please tell us in writing and give us your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction reference number which is on the letters we send you. Tell us what's changed and the date it changed. Give us all the details, for example, we need to know things like the new amounts of income, the name and date of birth of someone who has come to live with you and the date someone moved out of your home.
If you get Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance or any other social security benefit, you need to tell the Job Centre Plus office straightaway about your change. If you have moved, we always check if you are getting these benefits at your new address. If the Job Centre Plus office don't know that you've moved, it might hold up your claim with us.
If your Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance stops
If you've been getting Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related) or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) and start work, or increase your hours, there are rules to make things slightly easier.
Your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction may carry on for up to four weeks after you start work or increase your hours. Tell your Job Centre Plus office as soon as possible, and don't forget to tell us too. The sooner you tell us, the sooner we can check if you're entitled.
Unless your new income is very high, you may still get some Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction if you apply, but we'll need all your income details in order to check. We usually ask for your last five weekly or last two monthly payslips, along with proof of any other income you are getting.
If your new employer can provide details of your pay (before and after deductions), by completing a proof of earnings certificate or by providing a letter on headed paper, we will be able to work out if you will be entitled to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction based on your new income.
Please don't delay in contacting us if you start work or have
any changes in your income.
There are other benefits for people who work.
You might be entitled to tax credits, but these will affect your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction so we need to know as soon as you are awarded tax credits or when the amount changes.
If we find we've paid you too much benefit/reduction, we have to tell you what the right amount is and how much we have overpaid you. A decision will be made whether to ask you to pay it back or what we are going to do about it.
Disputes and appeals
If you don't agree with our decision, you can ask us to look at it again. Our letters tell you what your rights are. Please see: