Change in circumstances

What changes do we need to know about?

You must tell us right away if anything changes for you or anyone who lives with you as this could affect your benefit or reduction. If we find that we have paid you too much Housing Benefit you will have to pay us back. If we have paid you too much Council Tax Reduction we will adjust your Council Tax account and you will receive a new bill.

You can report any changes to us online. Click on the button below to complete our Change in Circumstances form:

Complete the Change in Circumstances form

You can also report changes to us in writing, or by visiting one of our offices. You can find the addresses on our contact us page.

Here are some of the things you must tell us about:

  • If you stop or start getting Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance or any other benefit
  • If your rent goes up or down (private tenants only)
  • If you or your partner’s wages go up or down
  • If the other money that you and your family have coming in goes up or down
  • If your savings or your family’s savings change
  • If anyone who lives with you has a change in their situation, such as starting work
  • If anyone who lives with you moves out
  • If anyone moves in to live with you
  • If you change your address
  • If you go away for 13 weeks or more
  • If you are refused asylum by the Home Office

These are only some of the changes that you must tell us about. If you are not sure whether a change needs reporting you should tell us anyway.

Housing Benefit law says that changes of circumstances must be notified within one month of them happening.

For Council Tax changes of circumstances must be notified within 21 days of them happening.

In both cases, if you tell us about any changes late, you may lose out on increases in your benefit or reduction. If you give us false information or do not tell us of changes on time, you may be prosecuted.

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For people receiving Pension Credit

If you are getting the 'Guarantee Credit' or the 'Guarantee Credit' plus the 'Savings Credit', you must tell us about the following:

If you are getting the 'Savings Credit' only you must tell us about the following:

  • changes to your tenancy (for example, if your rent changes or you move out)
  • if anyone who lives with you moves out or their situation changes, such as starting work
  • if someone moves in to your household
  • if you are going away for 13 weeks or more
  • changes to any child care charges you incur
  • if you have savings and investments that go over £16,000
  • changes to the income or capital of your partner (if they were not included in the Pension Credit claim)

You do not need to tell us about any other changes.

You must report any changes to us in writing or by visiting one of our offices. You can find the addresses on our contact us page. You can also download and complete a change of circumstances reporting form (PDF, 284KB).

Housing Benefit law says that changes of circumstances must be notified within one month of them happening.

For Council Tax changes of circumstances must be notified within 21 days of them happening.

In both cases, if you tell us about any changes late, you may lose out on increases in your benefit or reduction. If you give us false information or do not tell us of changes on time you may be prosecuted.

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Temporary Absence from Home

You are usually only entitled to Housing Benefit whilst you live in your home but there are limited circumstances where you may continue to qualify for Housing Benefit during a period of temporary absence.

Each of these circumstances is subject to its own specific criteria and strict time-limits. You must satisfy the relevant criteria to continue to qualify for Housing Benefit during a period of temporary absence.

A period of temporary absence from home begins on the first day of absence. You should provide sufficient evidence and information to confirm the reasons for your absence, the date your absence began and the date you returned home.

13 weeks or less

You may continue to qualify for Housing Benefit for up to 13 weeks during a period of temporary absence but only if:

  • you intend to return to your home; and,
  • your home is not let or sub-let during your absence; and,
  • the period of absence is unlikely to exceed 13 weeks.

More than 13 weeks

If you are going away for 13 weeks or more you must tell us. You may continue to qualify for Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks during a period of temporary absence if you are absent because you are:

  • detained in custody whilst on remand or awaiting sentencing
  • living elsewhere as a condition of bail
  • a hospital in-patient
  • undergoing medical treatment or medically approved care in non-residential accommodation (or a member of your family is)
  • undertaking medically approved care of someone else
  • on a government training course
  • in fear of violence and do not qualify for Housing Benefit on two homes
  • a student not excluded from receiving Housing Benefit who has to study abroad as part of the course
  • receiving temporary residential care

but in all cases you can only continue to qualify for Housing Benefit if:

  • you intend to return to your home; and
  • your home is not let or sub-let during your absence; and
  • the period of absence is unlikely to exceed 52 weeks (or in exceptional circumstances is unlikely to substantially exceed 52 weeks).
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