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Telling us about changes in your circumstances
Housing benefit and council tax support remains in payment as long as your circumstances mean you are entitled to it. We carry out regular checks on claims, but it is also important that you let us know if your circumstances change.
Most customers tell us when their circumstances change, but some do not. If we find out about a change in some other way, this may make us suspect fraud.
To be on the safe side, if you are unsure whether a change will affect your benefit, contact us.
Tell us what's changing as soon as you can
If the change means that you qualify for less housing benefit or council tax support your claim will normally be amended from the Monday following the date of the change.
This means that if you delay in contacting us you may receive too much benefit, which you will have to pay back.
If the change means that you qualify for more help we will normally amend your claim from the Monday following the date of the change. We will only be able to do this if you tell us about the change within a month of it happening.
If you leave it longer than a month to tell us, and the change means that you could get more help, we can only work out your award from the Monday after you tell 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 don't have to wait for the change to happen. If you know you are going to be moving address or starting a new job for example you can let us know in advance.
What kind of changes do I have to tell you about?
If you are claiming housing benefit or council tax support and you are about to start work you need to tell us straight away.
Even if you have started work you may still be entitled to help towards your rent and council tax. Please see our page about benefits for people who are working which gives more information about:
- if you will still be entitled to help and how to continue your claim
- extra benefits available to help you through the first few weeks whilst you are waiting for your first wage
You need to tell us straight away if you move house. If we don't know you've moved, we may carry on paying housing benefit to the landlord at your last address.
For more information about how to do this please see our page about telling us you have moved house.
Changes in income
Because housing benefit and council tax support are means tested we need to know if your income changes. You need to let us know:
- if you start or stop getting income support, jobseekers allowance or employment support allowance;
- if any other benefit starts or stops or the amount changes;
- if a tax credit like working tax credit or child tax credit starts or stops, or if the amount changes;
- if your wages go up or down;
- if your state retirement pension or private pension goes up or down;
- if someone else starts or stops getting carer's allowance for looking after you.
People who live with you
You need to let us know if:
- you have a new baby
- anyone comes to live with you or moves out;
- an adult who lives with you starts or stops work;
- there is any change in the income of an adult who lives with you;
- a child leaves school.
Bank accounts, savings and investments
You need to let us know if there are any changes in your:
- bank accounts;
- savings; or
- stocks, shares and investments.
You don't have to tell us about small changes of a current account, or the day-to-day changes in the value on the Stock Market of any stocks and shares you have.
If you rent from a private landlord or from a housing association we need to know if:
- your landlord puts your rent up or down;
- the services included in your rent change;
- you move to a different room in the same property;
- you have a change of landlord.
If you are a tenant of Six Town Housing, you don't need to tell us about any rent changes.
We need to know if you move out of your home temporarily, for example for:
- a trial period in a care home or;
- a stay in hospital or;
- because you are in prison.
We also need to know if become a student or finish your course.
These are not full lists. If you are not sure, tell us about a change anyway and we will let you know if it affects your housing benefit and council tax support.
How should I tell you about any changes?
You can let us know about a change in a number of ways:
- by filling out the change of circumstances on line form available on the right hand side of this page;
- by telephone - please see the contact us box at the top right hand corner of this page. We will let you know if you also need to put this in writing;
- by writing to us - our address is in the contact us box at the top of this page.
When you contact us we need to know
- what has changed;
- when it changed;
- details of your circumstances after the change, for example the new amount of income, the name and date of birth of someone who has come to live with you; and the dates someone moved into your home.
Do I need to provide anything about the change?
We usually need proof of the change for example:
- the notice of a rent increase;
- the award letter about a new benefit, or about a change to your benefit;
- the award letter about a tax credit, or a change to your tax credits; or
- the letter telling you your pension has increased.
If you have proof of the change then you need to send this to us. If you don't have the proof yet, tell us about the change anyway and let us know when you expect to receive it.
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