Housing benefit - change of circumstances
How to tell us about a change
You need to complete a form or tell us in writing and provide proof of the change.
What you need to tell us about
You need to tell us straight away about any change that could affect your housing benefit.
You must tell us even if you have told another agency, for example the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the Pension Service.
Below are some of the common changes you need to tell us about.
Changes to income
- Changes in wages, maintenance, works pensions, tax credits and so on.
- If any sort of income starts, stops or the amount you get goes up or down.
- If you start or stop work.
You may get extended payments of housing benefit if you start work or increase your hours.
Changes to benefit
- If you start or stop getting Income Support.
- If you start or stop getting Jobseeker's Allowance.
- If you start or stop getting Employment and Support Allowance.
- If you start or stop getting Universal Credit.
- 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.
People who live with you
- If anyone comes to stay with you or moves out, including people who go into hospital or prison.
- If anyone who lives with you starts or stops work.
- If there is any change in the income of someone who lives with you.
- If you have a new baby.
- If a child or young person leaves school.
Bank accounts, savings and investments
If you or your partner is of working age, you need to tell us if your combined capital increases to over £5,500.
If you or your partner is of qualifying age for Pension Credit you need to tell us if your combined capital increases to over £9,500.
Your capital includes money in your bank account(s), savings, stocks and shares.
Private rents and housing association rents
- If your landlord puts your rent up or down.
- If the services included in your rent change.
- If the part of the property you live in changes. For example, you may move to a different room in the same property or take on extra rooms.
- If your landlord changes.
(But council tenants do not need to tell us about changes to their rent)
If you move or are away from home
- If you move home, even to another room in the same building.
- If you will be away from home for more than four weeks (including going into hospital).
- If you become a couple.
- If you stop receiving Child Benefit for a child.
- Changes to the amount of childcare you pay.
- If you become a student or finish your course.
These are not full lists. If you're not sure, tell us about a change anyway and we will let you know if it affects your housing benefit.
If you don't tell us about changes straight away
If you don't tell us about changes when they happen we may pay you the wrong amount.
If you are entitled to more housing benefit because of a change in your circumstances
If you delay telling us about a change that would increase your housing benefit award we may not be able to backdate your claim to when it happened. Instead we may only increase your award from when you tell us. If you delay telling us you may lose out.
If you are entitled to less housing benefit because of a change in your circumstances
If you delay telling us about a change that would decrease your award we may pay you too much and you may be overpaid. If you are overpaid, you will probably have to pay it back.
If you don't tell us about changes when they happen you may be committing benefit fraud.
The sooner you tell us, the less chance there is of you being overpaid housing benefit which you may have to pay back. You can ask us to suspend paying your claim until we reassess it, if the change is likely to reduce your housing benefit.