Change of address or circumstances
If you receive council tax support or housing benefit, you must let us know if you move or your circumstances change.
If you need help, you can call us on 020 8753 6681 and we will explain what you need to do.
What kind of changes do I need to tell you about?
You need to tell us about any changes that could affect your benefit - particularly if the money you receive goes up or down, or starts or stops.
Please tell us if:
- your or your partner's income support, job seekers allowance or any other benefit changes
- your or your partner's wages, tax credits, works pension changes
- maintenance you receive changes
- any other income you or your partner receive
- anyone comes to live with you or moves out
- someone who lives with you starts or stops work
- the income of someone who lives with you changes
- a child leaves school
- your bank account changes
- your savings change
- your stocks, shares or other investments change
- your landlord puts your rent up or down - but if you are a council tenant, you don't need to tell us about any rent changes
- the services included in your rent change
- the part of the property you live in changes
- you move
- you live away from home
- you are going to be away from home for more than two weeks
- you become a student or finish your course
- you go into hospital
- you go into prison
- your landlord changes.
We cannot list all of the changes in circumstances that you should tell us about, but if you are not sure whether we need to know, tell us anyway. Do not leave it until the next time you fill in a claim form.
When do I need to tell you about any changes?
You should tell us straight away. If you don't, you could either lose benefit or you may be overpaid benefit, which you will have to pay back.
What information do you need?
Tell us what has changed and the date it changed. Give us all the details. For example, we need to know things like:
- new amounts of income
- name and date of birth of someone who has come to live with you
- date someone moved out of your home.
What sort of evidence do you need?
We usually need to see proof of the change which can include:
- 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 change to your tax credit
- the letter telling you your pension has increased
- pay slips.
Please do not send valuable items through the post. If you can, bring them to our customer services centre at 145 King Street where we will take the details we need and give you the documents back straight away.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with the documents please quote your name and address and your housing benefit and or council tax support number in the subject line.
To discuss your benefit application with a member of staff at the customer service centre you will need to make an appointment. However, if you only wish to drop off documents (up to a maximum of 25) to support your claim, you may do this without any appointment between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.
If you cannot come in, contact us for advice. If you haven't got the necessary evidence yet, don't delay telling us about what has changed and the date it changed. You can always show us the evidence later when you have it.
What happens if I am away from home?
We can continue to pay Housing Benefit in some circumstances, if you intend to return to the claim address and have not sublet it. You should let us know if you intend to be away from home.
Since 28 July 2016 new temporary absence rules apply to claimants and their family members for periods of absence outside Great Britain. Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales.
In general, the new rules allow you to be absent from Great Britain for up to 4 weeks.
The rules for temporary absence within Great Britain have not changed.
We have produced a temporary absence table (65KB pdf) to illustrate and help identify the differences between temporary absences within Great Britain and outside of Great Britain, including exceptions to the general rules.
What happens if I don't tell you about any changes?
If you don't tell us or are slow to tell us about a change, we are likely to go on paying the same rate of benefit as before and this may be wrong. We may need to change the amount we pay you, or stop your benefit completely because of the change.
If we have paid you too much, we will expect you to pay it back, and we may take it out of any benefit we are still paying you. For council tax benefit, we will take the money back from your council tax account so you will get a revised bill showing that you have to pay more.
If you don't tell us about changes straight away, we may not be able to pay you backdated benefit.
What are extended housing benefit payments and how can they help me?
If you stop getting a qualifying benefit because you or your partner start work or increase your earnings, you may be entitled to an ‘extended payment’ for the first four weeks.
Am I eligible?
To be entitled to this extended payment, you or your partner must have stopped getting income support, job seekers allowance (income based), incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance, or employment support allowance (income related or contribution based) and:
- were receiving one of these benefits for 26 weeks continuously before starting or increasing your hours of work and:
- the job is expected to last for more than five weeks.
We’ll decide if you have met the 26 week condition. You can appeal if we decide you haven’t met the conditions.
How do I claim?
You don’t have to make separate claim for an extended payment. The Department of Works and Pensions will tell us that your qualifying benefit has stopped. We’ll automatically pay you – you don’t need to do anything.
If you’d like to check that you meet the criteria, please contact us on 020 8753 6681
The weekly amount will be the higher of:
- the housing benefit that you were paid in the benefit week in which you started work,
- the amount you are entitled to based on your earnings
Extended payments can still be paid if you move address during the extended payment period.
If you qualify for extended housing benefit payments, you may also receive council tax support for the first four weeks.