What if my circumstances change?
The law says that you must tell us if there is any changes to the information we have used to decide the amount of Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance or Council Tax Benefit you are entitled to.
It is very important to tell us straightaway. You should get in touch with us even if you are still waiting to hear from us about your claim, and even if you have told someone else like the Job Centre or your landlord.
If you do not tell us, it may mean that the amount of Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance or Council Tax Benefit you get is wrong. We may be paying you too little and you could miss out on money you are entitled to.
It may also mean that you get too much benefit and will have to pay it back later.
Below we have given you the sort of changes that you have to tell us about. If you are not sure whether you need to tell us about the change please check. You can get advice from any Neighbourhood Office or by telephoning us on 0121 464 7000.
If your income support, job seekers allowance, employment and support allowance or any other benefit is stopping because you are starting work, follow the link at the bottom of this page for more information.
If you are getting or have applied for Pension Credit follow the link at the bottom of this page for more information.
What kind of changes do I have to tell you about?
Here are some examples of the things you should tell us about.
Any changes to your Benefits
For example, if you or your partner start or stop receiving:
- Income Support
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Incapacity or sickness benefit
- Any other benefit
Changes in income
For example if there is any change to your or your partners (if you have one) income. Tell us if it starts, stops, goes up or goes down. This will include:
- Tax credits
- Maintenance payments
- Works pensions
- Any other income
People who live with you
You must tell us about any changes concerning the people who normally live with you, for example:
- If someone comes to live with you or someone moves out
- If someone who lives with you starts or stops work
- If there is a change in the income of someone who lives with you
- If one of your children leaves school
Recently started work or stopped working?
With effect from 7 October 2009, if you have recently started work after claiming Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance you now only need to contact your local Jobcentre Plus. They will take the details from you in relation to your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and pass these to us.
If you are no longer in employment, you only need to visit you local Jobcentre Plus. They will take your details from you and pass them to the Benefit Service. These will be used to calculate your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
Bank Accounts, Savings and Investments
You must tell us if there are any changes in the level of your savings. You do not have to tell us about minor changes in your current account or day to day changes in any stocks or shares you hold.
You must tell us if:
- Your savings go over £6,000 for the first time and you have not yet reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit
- Your savings go over £10,000 for the first time and you have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit
- Your savings go over £16,000
- Your savings go down by a large amount because you have had to spend them on something
If you rent your home from a private landlord or a housing association you should tell us:
- If your rent goes up or down
- If there is any change in any service charges you pay
- If the part of the property you live in changes
- If you are a council tenant you do not have to tell us about rent changes.
Change of Address
If you move address you should tell us as soon as you move or you know the date that you will be moving.
If you do not we may carry on paying benefit to your old landlord.
If you are thinking of moving to a private rented property, you can find out how much local housing allowance you may be eligible to by referring to the rates published on our Local Housing Allowance page.
When do I have to tell you about changes?
You should tell us as soon as you can about any changes but you must tell us within one month of the change happening, at the latest. If you do not you could lose benefit.
- If you tell us within one month we usually work out your new benefit from the Monday after the date the change actually happened
- If you leave it more than a month and the change means that you would get more benefit, we can usually only work out your benefit from the Monday after you tell us. You would then lose out on benefit so it is important that you tell us straightaway
- If the change means that you get less benefit we will always work out your new benefit back to the date of the change. This will mean that you will have been paid too much benefit which, you will have to pay back. If you want to avoid this, please tell us straightaway.
How should I tell you about any changes?
You can report a change of circumstances by:
- Filling in a form at any Neighbourhood Office
- Calling 0121 464 7000, who will take details of the change over the telephone
You will need to tell us:
- What has changed
- The date it changed
- Details of the change - new amounts of income, the date someone moved in or out, etc
We will also need to see proof of the change. Remember, we need to see original documentation we cannot accept photocopies. Examples of the sort of things you will have to provide may be:
- Your rent increase notice if your rent has gone up or down
- Your benefit award letter if one of your other benefits has changed
- Your new wage slips if your wages have changed
- Your latest bank statements if your savings have changed
If you can, please have this information ready when you tell us about any changes, it will help us work out your new benefit more quickly. If you do not have the proof available, do not delay telling us you can send in the details later if necessary.
What happens after I have told you about a change?
We will write to you to tell you how your housing benefit or council tax benefit has changed and whether you are entitled to more or less money.
If you do not agree with our decision you will be able to ask us to look at it again or you can appeal.
If you get council tax benefit you will get a new council tax bill which will tell you the new amount you have to pay.
If you are a council tenant you will get a new rent card.
If you rent your home from a private landlord or a housing association you should talk to your landlord about the new amount you have to pay.