Changes of circumstance
Change of address
If your Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance finishes, or if you move and were receiving Housing Benefit at your old address, you will need to complete a new Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction form online:
You must tell us about these changes immediately. If you delay telling us for more than one calendar month then you may lose benefit.
Change of household – birth, adoption, fostering
If you have recently given birth or adopted/fostered a dependent child you may be entitled to help from the government, such as Child Benefit and Tax Credits.
Child Benefit is a tax-free payment that you can claim for your child(ren). It is usually paid every four weeks but can sometimes be paid weekly. There are separate rates payable for each child. The payment can be claimed by anyone who qualifies, whatever their savings, however you may be subject to the High Income Child Benefit Charge if your earnings are over a certain limit.
Tax credits are payments from the government. If you’re responsible for at least one child or young person, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you work, but are on a low income, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit. You can often get both types of tax credits. They aren’t taxable.
When choosing childcare you’ll need to consider work hours, budgets, and whether you want care in your own home or with other children.
- Find out about the different childcare options available for children up to five years old
Important: If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction and you have a had a change in household, you must inform the benefit department in the council of this change by completing our online form and providing your birth certificate / Tax Credit letter.
Other changes of circumstances
If you have any other changes in circumstance you must tell us immediately in writing.
If you delay telling us for more than one calendar month you may lose benefit.
Every time we receive information from you, we will write back to you to confirm how your benefit has been affected. If you do not receive this confirmation you must assume that we have not heard from you (and your benefit will continue as before). If this is the case you must contact us again. It could be considered as fraud if you knowingly continue to receive benefit when your entitlement may have changed.
We will assess your claim using the information you have given to us. Youmusttell us straight away if there are any changes to your circumstances.
Here are some examples of changes you must report:
- You stop receiving Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
- Your Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit changes
- You move (even if you only move to a different room or flat within the same property)
- A child leaves school or leaves home
- You have a baby
- Your child starts to be cared for, or stops being cared for, by a registered child minder, nursery or play group
- Someone moves into or out of your home (including boarders and sub-tenants)
- Your income, or the income of anyone living with you, goes up or down
- You or anyone living with you becomes a student, or takes up a government training scheme
- You or anyone living with you goes into hospital or a nursing home, or goes into prison (even if this is on remand)
- You or anyone living with you gets a job, or changes their job, or becomes unemployed
- You or anyone living with you takes a second job
- You return to work after a period of illness where you have been receiving benefit
- You or anyone living with you has a change in capital or savings of £150 or more (this does not apply to people receiving Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) or Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) – you should notify the Department for Work and Pensions)
- Your rent changes
- You and/or your partner will be away from home for two weeks or more. Where possible, tell us about this before you go
- You receive a decision from the Home Office
- Someone starts to receive Carer’s Allowance for looking after you
- You change the bank account that we are paying your Housing Benefit into
- Anything at all which is different from what you have told us on your claim form
You must tell us about these changes in writing – a phone call is not enough. Do not rely on anyone else to give us the information, or pass a message on, not even the Job Centre, Pensions Service or Revenues and Customs.
If you don’t tell us about the changes, you may lose money you are entitled to, or we may pay you too much benefit which we can ask you to repay.
If you’re not sure about whether or not you need to tell us about a change, ring us on (01273) 292000 to check or write to us with the details.
Stays in hospital
You must let the council and the Department for Work and Pensions know if you have to go into hospital for any length of time. Your benefit entitlement will need to be reassessed to take into account your new circumstances. If you were not claiming any form of benefit prior to entering hospital, you may now be entitled to claim.
By informing us of your circumstances we can make sure your benefit continues whilst you’re away. You are entitled to have your Housing Benefit paid for up to a year whilst you’re away from home or having treatment or in hospital.
You may need an appointee – someone to handle your benefit affairs whilst you are in hospital. We can advise you how to do this.