What to do if your circumstances change

Change in circumstances – what you must tell us

Lives change and some changes may have an impact on a claim for housing benefit whether it’s just been made and is being assessed or it has been paid for a while.

If your circumstances change it’s vital to tell us right away as it may affect the amount of Housing Benefit you qualify for – it’s the law. 

If a change in circumstances means you will get more housing benefit, a delay in letting us know may mean you miss out.  If the change means you get less housing benefit we may pay you too much, which you will have to pay back

What counts as a change in circumstances?

The following gives lots of information on the changes you must tell us about.  Please read them all thoroughly.  The changes may affect you, your partner’s, or anyone else living in your home’s circumstances.

Learn more about the changes in circumstances you must tell us about

You must tell us if:

  • you, your partner, or anyone else living in your home starts or stops receiving Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based), Employment Support Allowance (income-related), Guaranteed Pension Credit or Universal Credit
  • the amount you, your partner, or anyone else living in your home earns, increases or decreases, if there is a change in the number of hours worked, if there is a change in employer or if a second job is taken on
  • there is any change to income, benefits or tax credits for you, your partner, or anyone else living in your home
  • there is a change in the amount or type of capital / savings / investments / shares held by you or your partner
  • you, your partner, or anyone else living in your home starts or stops receiving a private / occupational pension, or if the amount paid changes
  • anyone starts or stops receiving Carer’s Allowance for looking after you or your partner
  • you or your partner starts or stops receiving Carer’s Allowance for looking after someone
  • you start or stop paying childcare costs or the amount paid increases or decreases

You must tell us if:

  • a partner moves in or out
  • anyone else moves into or out of your home, including lodgers, sub-tenants and joint tenants
  • there is a change in the make-up of your tenancy

You must tell us if: 

  • a child joins or leaves your household

  • you start or stop getting Child Benefit 

  • you start or stop paying childcare costs 

  • the amount of childcare costs you pay increases or decreases

  • any of your children leave school, start work or start to get benefits

  • you or anyone else living in your home becomes responsible for another child

You must tell us if you (or your partner or anyone else living with you) are or not occupying the dwelling that you claim Housing Benefit for.

For example you must tell us if:

  • you or your partner leaves Northern Ireland (tell us before you go and tell us when you return home)
  • you or your partner goes in to prison
  • you or your partner go into hospital or a nursing home, (tell us the date you go in and when you are allowed home)

You must tell us if:

  • you change address, even if this is to another room in the same property
  • the amount of rent or rates you have to pay increases or decreases
  • you need an additional room for a carer or if you were allowed an additional room for a carer (or team of carers) staying overnight in your home and this is no longer needed
  • you were allowed an additional room because you, your partner or anyone else living with you could not share a room because of a disability or medical reason and this is no longer the case or if you require an additional bedroom because of the inability of two people to share

 

You must tell us if:

  • you, your partner, or anyone else living in your home starts or stops being a student or starts or ends a training course

  • you receive any decision from the Home Office in relation to a right to reside in the United Kingdom

What if I do not report a change in circumstances? 

If you fail to report a change you may be committing an offence which could result in court action being taken against you. It could also mean you lose out on getting more housing benefit if you don’t tell us, or are slow to tell us.  

If we pay you too much Housing Benefit we expect you to pay it back

If you are still getting Housing Benefit an amount each week will be taken off until it is repaid – we will write to tell you – or we may arrange to take it out of other benefits you are being paid.  If you are no longer getting Housing Benefit we will work with you to arrange repayment.

Quick online calculation for Housing Benefit

Use the Housing Benefit calculator to see how / if your new circumstances will affect your entitlement. This calculation will only give you an indication of what you might receive, it is not the actual amount. Even if you think the change will not affect your Housing Benefit you must still tell us.

How do I report a change in circumstances? 

Telephone: 03448 920 902 | NGT* 18001 03448 920 902. 
We will ask you for your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance Number to verify your identity.

In person: at your local Housing Executive office.

In writing: 
Download, print and complete the most relevant Housing Benefit form for your circumstances below and send in by post.

Send us 5 weekly or 2 monthly or 3 fortnightly payslips

or

ask your employer to complete and sign a Certificate of earnings form

or

complete the Self-Employment (SE1) form

Housing Executive / housing association tenant should complete:

Private Rental tenants should complete:

Complete and return Housing Benefit Change Payment Details form.

Complete and return a Changes in circumstances form

We usually need to see some evidence of the change in circumstance.  For example, wage slips showing the increase or decrease in earnings or telling us a forwarding address when a non-dependant leaves the household.

To find contact details for your nearest Housing Benefit office see How to contact us

Advice disclaimer

Please note that all the information in this section is for general advice only. We recommend that you contact your local Housing Benefit office if you have any queries.


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Overpayment of Housing Benefit
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