Changes in your circumstances

The law says you must tell us if there is any change to the information we have used to decide whether you are entitled to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

You should tell us straight away even if you've already told someone else like Jobcentre Plus or your landlord.

What changes do I have to tell you about?

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You need to tell us about any change that could affect your benefit. For example:

Changes in benefit

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If you or your partner stop receiving:

  • Income Support
  • Employment Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker's Allowance; or any other benefit that you or your partner get. Or if there is any other type of change.

Changes in income

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If there is any change to your or your partner's:

  • Wages
  • Tax credits
  • Maintenance
  • Works pensions or Private pensions
  • Any other income.

You should always tell us when the income starts, stops, goes up or goes down.

People who live with you

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You must tell us if:

  • Anyone comes to live with you or moves out
  • Someone who lives with you starts or stops work; there is any change in the income of someone who lives with you, except changes to the amount of Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance; or a child leaves school or you stop receiving child benefit.

You can always check with us if you're not sure.

Bank accounts, savings and investments

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You must tell us if there are any changes in your:

  • Bank accounts
  • Savings
  • Stocks, shares.

You don't have to tell us about any minor changes to your current account, or of the day-to-day changes in the value on the stock market of any stocks and shares you have.

Private rents

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You must tell us if:

  • Your landlord puts your rent up or down
  • The services included in your rent change
  • The part of the property you live in changes.

Other kinds of changes you should tell us about

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You should tell us if you:

  • Move
  • Live away from home
  • Become a student or finish your course
  • Go into hospital
  • Go into prison
  • Have a change of landlord.

We cannot list all of the changes in circumstance that you should tell us about, but if you are in doubt whether we need to know, tell us anyway.

When do I have to tell you about any changes?

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You should tell us within one month of the change happening. If you don't, you could lose benefit.

  • If you tell us within one month of the change happening, we will usually work out your new benefit from the Monday following the date the change happened
  • If you leave it longer than a month to tell us, and the change means that you could get more benefit, we can only work out your new benefit from the Monday after you tell us

This is when you would lose out on benefit, so tell us straightaway

  • If a change happens which means you would get less benefit, you should still tell us within a month of the change

Even if you delay, we will still work out your benefit by going back to the Monday after the date the change happened

This means you might have been overpaid benefit, which you'll have to pay back. If you want to avoid this, tell us straightaway.

What if I change address?

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You need to tell us straightaway if you move. You will probably want to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support at your new address, and you'll want to get benefit sorted out as soon as possible.

  • If you move to a new address in the Trafford area, you will need to fill in our change in circumstance form and give us full details of your new rent and accommodation
  • If you have never been awarded Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support by Trafford Council or if you have previously claimed but are no longer receiving Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support you will need to complete our new claim form
  • If you move to another council's area, you will need to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support from your new council, and you should get a new claim form directly from them.

If we don't know you've moved, we may carry on paying benefit to the landlord at your last address.

To find out more about what you might be entitled to, please read our tenant's guide to LHA.

I'm about to start work. How will that affect my benefit?

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Starting work can mean some practical problems. Your benefit will change so you need to tell us if you:

  • Start a new job
  • Increase your normal hours
  • Start working overtime
  • Get a pay rise.

If I start work, what happens with my benefits?

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If you've been getting Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and start a job, or increase your hours, there are rules to make things slightly easier.

Extended payments

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Your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support may carry on for up to four weeks after you start work or increase your hours.

Tell your JobCentre Plus office as soon as possible, and don't forget to tell us too. The sooner you tell us about your change in circumstance, the sooner we can decide if you're entitled to an extended payment.

In-work benefits

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Unless you're very well paid, you may still get some Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support if you apply, but we'll need all your income details in order to check.

We usually ask for your last five weekly or last two monthly pay slips, but if your new employer can provide details of your likely pay (before and after deductions), we can estimate your likely earnings.

If you've been on Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, you will need to fill in our change in your circumstances form.

Please don't delay your claim or you could lose benefit.

What happens if I don't tell you about changes?

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If you don't tell us about a change, we're 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 a change. If you don't tell us, or are slow to tell us, we may pay you too much. We will expect you to pay it back, and we may take it out of the benefit we're still paying you. For further information, see our overpayments page.

For Council Tax Support we'll take the money back out of 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 straightaway, you may not be entitled to back pay. If you take more than a month to tell us about a change that would give you more benefit, we can only increase your benefit from the Monday after the date you told us.

If there are good reasons that explain your delay, we may be able to pay the extra money from an earlier date, but we cannot guarantee this.

We may find out about a change in some other way and this might make us suspect fraud. If this is the case, we may need to ask our investigation team to check the situation.

How should I tell you about any changes?

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You can complete a change of circumstances form. You must give us your benefits reference number which is on the letters we send you.

Tell us what's changed and the date it changed.

Give us all the details. We need to know things like:

  • The new amounts of income
  • The name and date of birth of someone who has come to live with you
  • The date someone moved out of your home, including their new address.

We usually need proof of the change so send us things like:

  • 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 a change to your tax credits
  • The letter telling you your pension has increased.

For wages, if you don't have five weeks' or two months' payslips yet, don't delay telling us about your job and wages. You can always send these in later when you have them.

Do I need to tell anyone else about my changes?

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Yes, you do. If you get Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or any other social security benefit, you need to tell Jobcentre Plus straightaway about your change.

If you get Pension Credit, you should tell the Pension Service directly about any changes that might affect how much Pension Credit you get.

If you have moved, we always check if you are getting these benefits at your new address. If Jobcentre Plus don't know that you've moved, it might hold up your claim with us.

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