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What to do if your circumstances change

Updated: 20 Feb 2019
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You must tell us if your circumstances change
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What to do if your circumstances change

If you have made a claim for housing benefit or if you are already receiving Housing Benefit and your circumstances change, you need to tell us about the change immediately as this can affect the amount of Housing Benefit you are entitled to receive.

Changes can result in an increase or a decrease in the amount of housing benefit that you should be paid

If a change in circumstances results in more housing benefit, a delay in reporting this change to us may result in you not getting the higher amount of housing benefit from the date the change happened.
If you delay reporting a change that results in less housing benefit being payable, an overpayment will occur which you may have to pay back in full.
Examples of changes of circumstances you need to tell us about:
You must report immediately any changes of circumstances that occur in relation to incomes, benefits or savings payable to you (or your partner) or to anyone else living in your home. This will ensure that the correct payment of Housing Benefit is in payment.

Income details  

You must tell us if:
  • You,  your partner or anyone else living with you starts work, ends work or if the number of hours worked changes
  • you start or stop getting Child Benefit,
  • there is a change in benefits paid to you, your partner or anyone else living with you
  • there is a change in the amount of savings or capital you or your partner possesses
  • there is a change in the amount of childcare costs you pay

Household details

You must tell us if:
  • a partner moves in or out
  • any of your children leave school, start work or start to receive benefits
  • anyone comes to live with you or anyone leaves (including lodgers or tenants)
  • you have a student child who normally studies away from home and they return home during the holiday period
  • someone living with you stops or starts to receive a benefit or starts work
  • you stop or start receiving Carer’s Allowance because you care for a disabled person
  • a person starts caring or stops claiming Carer’s Allowance while caring for you

Absence from your home

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 the country (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)

Accommodation details

You must tell us if:
  • your rent goes up or down (but not if you are a Housing Executive tenant);  
  • you change address, even if this is to another room in the same house

Other changes which may affect your housing benefit

  • If you start or stop paying childcare costs or if the amount of childcare costs you are paying changes
  • If Disability Living Allowance stops, starts or the rate of the award changes for anyone living in your household
  • If you have received benefit as a student and your course finishes.

Overpayments of Housing Benefit

If you don’t tell us, or are slow to tell us, we may have paid you too much Housing Benefit. We will expect you to pay it back, and we may take it out of any other benefits you are being paid.
We usually need to see evidence when reporting a change of circumstance. For example wage slips showing an increase or decrease in earnings, or telling us a forwarding address when a non-dependant leaves the household.
Use the Housing Benefit calculator to see if your new circumstances will affect your entitlement

How do I report a change in circumstances?


By telephone:

You can call us on our Housing Benefit phone line: 03448 920 902.
For identification purposes you will be asked for your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance Number.

By writing to us:

Download the relevant Housing Benefit forms and post them to us.
Once you have completed the form, please send it to the office that deals with your claim (See the list below)

Change of Payment Details

If you want to change the bank details your money is paid into:

Housing Benefit offices

Twickenham House
Mount Street
Antrim, Ballymena,
Ballymoney, Carrickfergus,
Coleraine, Larne,
Newtownabbey, Moyle
Belfast HB Unit
32-36 Great Victoria Street
Belfast Area
Marlborough House
Central Way
Armagh, Banbridge,
Craigavon, Newry & Mourne
Richmond Chambers
The Diamond
BT48 6QP
Derry, Limavady, Magherafelt, Strabane
Strangford House
28 Court Street
Ards, Bangor, Castlereagh,
Downpatrick, Lisburn, Dunmurry
McAllister House
Woodside Avenue
Cookstown, Dungannon, Fermanagh,