Change of circumstances
If you're getting housing benefit or council tax support and your circumstances change, you must tell us straight away.
What could happen if I don't let you know of changes?
If you don't you may lose out on benefits or be overpaid. If you're overpaid you may have to pay this back - and could even be prosecuted for benefit fraud.
Have your circumstances changed since claiming benefits?
Some of the changes you may need to tell us about are below - this is not a complete list:
- any period you are away from home for four weeks or more
- changes to income, wages or savings
- Starting or leaving work
- changes in working hours
- changes in child care costs
- moving home
- someone else moves into or out of your home
- birth of a child
- your children leaving school or starting work
- the circumstances of anyone living with you changes
- any other change that may affect your entitlement to benefit.
Evidence you may need to provide
If you're moving house and are a private or housing association tenant you need to provide a copy of your new tenancy agreement:
- your name as the tenant
- the date the tenancy starts
- the amount of the rent and how often you have to pay this amount
- details of any charges that are included in the rent, like heating or water
- date you moved, or intend to move into your property.
What if we require more evidence?
We'll contact you if we need more evidence or information and explain what you'll need to provide.
If you are unable to scan and attach evidence to the change of circumstance form linked above then attach it to an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note all our customer service centres are now closed until further notice and we are no longer accepting post.
What happens next?
We'll write to you within 21 days of receiving confirmation of your change of circumstance and any other evidence we need. We'll tell you:
- how much benefit you'll get
- when your benefit will change from
- if you've been overpaid
- what information we've used to work out your benefit
- what you should do if you think your benefit is wrong
Away from home for more than four weeks?
If you are receiving housing benefits or support towards your council tax bill, in most circumstances these payments will stop. This is a change to the housing benefit 'temporary absence' rules and took effect from 28 July 2016.
Before 28 July 2016, housing benefit and council tax support can continue to be paid for up to 13 weeks when you are away from your home, if you are travelling within the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the world. In some exceptions, it can be paid for up to 52 weeks. This is called the 'temporary absence rule'.
From 28 July 2016, the government has said that the temporary absence rule will change and in most cases the 13 weeks payable will reduce to four weeks if you are travelling outside of Great Britain. The changes also affects partners and any other adults (non-dependants) living in the property.
You can find more information on the document below:
Please note that Northern Island, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are considered to be abroad in these circumstances.
Moving house or receive a council tax discount and have a change in circumstance?
You must let us know:
If you move house, don't forget to register to vote at your new address.