Tell us about a change
Please tell us about anything that could affect your benefit
Tell us about a change
You need to tell us straight away about any change that could affect your Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit. You need to complete a form or tell us in writing and provide proof of the change.
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 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.
- 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.
Extended payments when returning to work
If some of your benefit entitlements come to an end because you have taken up employment, increased your hours of work or your earnings, you may be able to continue receiving Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for an additional four week period.
Who can claim?
To be eligible for extended Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support payments you, or your partner must:
- be starting work or increasing your hours, and
- expect your new work or increased hours to last for 5 weeks or more, and
- have had an entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based or contribution-based), Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance for a continuous period of 26 weeks or more.
Extended payments are automatically calculated and issued to you if you are eligible. If you think you are not receiving the entitlements and should be, please contact us.
What will happen next?
We will look at your claim and assess whether you are entitled to extended payments. If you are we will award 4 weeks Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support at the same rate you were entitled to before you started work. At the end of the extended payment period, we will work out your claim based on your new circumstances.
You may be entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support after your extended payment ends, or if you don’t qualify for an extended payment, you may still be entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support once you have started work.
You can check your likely entitlement by using the online benefits calculator.
If we do not have evidence of your new income and full details of your capital, your claim will be suspended following the end of the extended payment period and we will request proof of all of your income and full details of your capital.
If you do not qualify for an extended payment and you still want to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, your claim will be suspended following the change in your circumstances and we will request proof of your income and capital to work out your claim based on your new circumstances.Permalink
- 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.
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.Permalink
- 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)Permalink
Please try to tell us before you move but if you can’t, tell us as soon after the move as you can.
It is important that you let us know straight away because if we pay you too much, you will probably have to pay back the amount we have overpaid.
Before you move
Before you move, you can check how much Housing Benefit you could get using our online benefits calculator.
If you are moving into a privately rented property, your Housing Benefit is likely to be worked out using the Local Housing Allowance rules. You can find the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you could get, using the LHA rate for the number of rooms you need.
When you decide to take on the tenancy you should complete a change of address form and provide proof of your new address and proof of rent.
Remember that Housing Benefit is paid in arrears, so you may need to arrange a deposit or paying rent in advance until you get your Housing Benefit. You may be able to get a discretionary housing payment to help with rent in advance or rent deposit.
Try to plan your move, and try to arrange it so you are not responsible for paying rent at two properties at the same time. If you can’t give enough notice to avoid paying rent at two properties, we may, but not always, be able to help you with both. We are unable to help you pay Council Tax for more than one property at a time.
Claiming Housing Benefit on two homes
Housing Benefit is usually only paid for the home in which you are living and paying rent. There are some circumstances in which you may be able to get help for two homes, for example:
- You have moved into other rented accommodation due to fear of violence.
- You are a student or trainee, one of a couple, and have to live in separate rented accommodation because of your course or work.
- You have a large family and the council has housed you in two separate properties.
- You have moved to a new home which you have to pay rent for but you must still pay rent for your old home.
Fear of violence
Where you have left your former home and remain absent due to fear of violence occurring either in your home by another person or outside your home by a former member of your family, Housing Benefit may be paid.
In all cases, we must consider if it is reasonable to do so and Housing Benefit may be paid for a maximum of 52 weeks. For benefit to be paid, you must intend to return to and live in the home you left. We will not normally pay Housing Benefit if someone else is living in your home while you are absent.
Students or trainees
Most full-time students are not eligible for Housing Benefit. Couples where one or both partners are students and are living in separate rented accommodation may receive benefit for both properties. If you think this may apply to you please contact us.
More information about students and Housing Benefit.
If you have a large family and the council has housed you in two separate dwellings because your household is too large for them to place you in one home, Housing Benefit may be paid on both properties. To qualify, both properties must be public housing whether or not provided directly by the council and should be adjacent to each other.
There is no time limit for this provision.
Unavoidable overlapping Housing Benefit
If you have moved to a new home which you rent and you still have to pay rent for your old home, help may be available. If the situation is unavoidable, for example if you were offered a new home to rent but were unable to give your landlord the notice he required, Housing Benefit may be paid for up to 4 weeks on your old home. For this to be considered, you must have moved into your new home.Permalink
To receive Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support you must be living in the property for which you are claiming. However, some people can continue to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support whilst away from home.
If you get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support and you or anyone in your household will be away from your home for more than four weeks, you need to let us know.
The length of time for which you can continue to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support whilst away from home depends on the reason why you are away.
To continue to get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support whilst away from home, you must
- Intend to return to live in the property after the absence ends – you can’t get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support whilst you are away if you have no intention of returning home.
- Not let or sublet your property whilst you are away – you or your landlord can’t rent your room or home out to other people whilst you are away.
- Not be likely to be away for more than the time allowed at the start of your absence – you can’t intend to go and stay with relatives for 16 weeks and ask us to pay for the first 13 weeks.
- Still be liable for rent and Council Tax on your normal home.
- Provide the information and proof needed for your claim to continue.
If you’re going away outside of Great Britain
You can only continue to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for up to four weeks if you’re going away outside of Great Britain. Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales.
Great Britain does NOT include Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If one of the following applies to you, you can continue to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for up to 26 weeks whilst away from Great Britain:
- a member of the armed forces posted overseas
- a mariner
- a continental shelf worker
- receiving medically approved care.
If you’re going away but are staying in Great Britain
If you’re away from home but are in Great Britain and one of the following applies to you, you can continue to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for up to 13 weeks:
- in residential accommodation (for example homes for the elderly) on a trial basis
- convicted and sentenced for a crime
- on holiday or visiting friends.
If you’re away from home because of domestic violence, you can continue to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for up to 26 weeks.
If you’re away from home but are in Great Britain and one of the following applies to you, you can continue to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for up to 52 weeks:
- on remand awaiting trial
- in hospital
- receiving ‘medically approved care’ (for example those attending drug or alcohol rehabilitation schemes away from their home)
- providing ‘medically approved care’ to someone else
- caring for a child whose parent or guardian is away from home in order to receive medical treatment or ‘medically approved’ care
- following a government training course
- away because of fear of violence in your normal home.
During your absence
If any of the following change during your absence you need to tell us straight away:
- if you decide not to return to the property
- if your reason for absence changes
- if you’re going to be away for longer than expected.
- 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 or Council Tax Support.Permalink
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 or Council Tax Support because of a change in your circumstances
If you delay telling us about a change that would increase your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support 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 or Council Tax Support 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 and Council Tax Support 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 and Council Tax Support.Permalink