Tell us about changes in your circumstances
If you receive Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support
You must tell us about any changes that happen to you or the people living with you which may affect how much benefit you get - even small changes can affect how much benefit you can get.
You may be issued with a Civil Penalty if you:
- deliberately give us false information or,
- don’t tell us of a change in your circumstances in order to get more benefit than you are entitled to
You must not rely on someone else such as your landlord, the Job Centre, HMRC or a friend telling us about a change affecting you or the other people living with you. You must tell us yourself.
What sort of changes do I need to tell you about?
Some of the changes you must tell us about are if:
- there is a change in your income or benefits, or in the income or benefits of anyone living with you
- anyone moves in or out of your home (even if they are only there for a short time)
- your hours change, or you change jobs
- you start or stop working
- your capital / savings increase above £6,000
- you are going to be away from home for a period of time
- if you are moving home
These are only examples of some of the changes you need to tell us about. If you aren’t sure if a change might affect your benefit, tell us anyway or contact us for more information.
You may be asked to provide evidence of the change.
You may lose benefit if you delay telling us about any change in circumstances. If you are overpaid benefit as a result, you may have to pay it back.
How to tell us
You can tell us about the change by:
- completing the online Change in Circumstances form here
- using a Change in Circumstances form (we send one to you with every benefit notification letter)
- writing to the Benefits Division at the Civic Offices
- telephoning 01992 564156 between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday
- calling into the Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ between 9am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, 9am and 4.45pm on a Friday
- calling into the The Limes Centre, Limes Avenue, Chigwell IG7 5LP between 9.00 am and 4.30 pm on Wednesdays.
- Emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Benefit on two homes (overlapping benefit)
You can ask for Housing Benefit to be paid on two addresses at the same time for a period of up to four weeks. We can pay you this 'overlapping benefit' if you have actually moved into your new home and we accept that you could not have reasonably avoided having to pay two rents for the same period.
Civil penalties can be given where a person has either falsely given information, or failed to report a change in their circumstance, which has resulted in either Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support being paid, when there was either no entitlement or a lower entitlement. The civil penalty for Housing Benefit is £50 and for Local Council Tax Support it is £70.
The same £70 civil penalty also applies to all Council Tax discounts and exemptions (e.g. single resident discount, empty home discount), not just Local Council Tax Support. For example, if you are a single resident getting a 25% discount but you then have someone else move in and you don’t tell us, a £70 civil penalty will be applied.
The Civil Penalty policy document can be found here.