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Housing and Council Tax Benefits - Change in Circumstances

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Overview

If you’re receiving housing benefit and / or council tax support, and your circumstances change, you must tell us immediately. You can do this online. It could affect the amount or your entitlement you receive for housing benefit or could alter the amount of Council Tax that you need to pay.

You should still tell us even if you are waiting for a decision about any other benefit you have claimed.

If you don’t tell us about any changes, we may be paying you too little and you could be missing out.

We may also be paying you too much and you may have to pay this back to us later.

It may be considered as fraud if you knowingly continue to receive housing benefit or council tax support when your entitlement may have changed.

Essential Information
  • If you're not sure whether your change in circumstances is relevant, tell us about it anyway. You should tell us immediately after the change happens.

    You must tell us even if you have already told other organisations of the change, for example Job Centre Plus and Department for Works and Pensions. However, if you have recently started work and have already notified the Jobcentre Plus of this change you do not need to notify us of this change.

    You will need to tell us:

    • The date of the change;
    • What has changed; and
    • Details of the change.

    Some of the type of changes you need to let us know about are listed below.

  • Includes any of the following benefits:

    • Income support;
    • Job seeker’s allowance;
    • Employment and support allowance;
    • Incapacity or sickness benefit; or
    • Any other benefits and / or tax credits.

    You should also tell us if the amount of benefit you or your partner receive changes. If you have recently started work and have already notified the Jobcentre Plus of this change you do not need to notify us of this change.

  • When you return to work after being on benefit, some of your benefits will carry on for a short while. You can find out more, including the benefits and support you may be able to get once you're working by visiting benefits and help when going back to work.

  • Tell us if there is any change to your or your partner’s income. Tell us if it starts, stops, goes up or goes down. This will include:

    • Wages;
    • Tax credits;
    • Maintenance payments;
    • Works pensions; and
    • Any other income.


  • Tell us about any changes concerning the people who normally live with you. For example:

    • If someone comes to live with you or someone moves out
    • you will also need to tell us how this affects your personal situation, for example, if you marry, separate, your partner moves in or you sub-let;
    • if someone who lives with you starts or stops work
    • if your partner dies:

    If your partner was the main claimant for housing benefit we will cancel the claim.

    You will need to make a new claim within one month so we can award housing and / or council tax support, from the date your partner died.

    If you take longer than one month to make your claim, you will have to write and ask us to consider backdating your housing and / or council tax support to the date your partner died.

    In both cases you will need to provide the original death certificate and proof of your income and savings:

    • If there is a change in the income of someone who lives with you
    • if any of your children leave school
    • if you stop receiving child benefit for any of your children
    • when any of your children become 18
    • you will need to let us know if they are staying at school, starting work, or claiming any benefits.
  • Tell us if there are any changes in the amount of your savings. You don’t have to tell us about minor changes in your current account or day-to-day changes in any stocks or shares you hold. You do have to tell us if:

    • Your savings go over £6,000 for the first time
    • Your savings go over £16,000
    • You’re of working age and you have savings of £6,000 or more and they increase by £250 or more;
    • You or your partner have reached the qualifying age for state pension credit and your savings go over £10,000 for the first time
    • Your savings decrease significantly because you have had to spend some
  • If you rent your home from a private landlord or a registered social landlord (housing association) tell us:

    • If your rent goes up or down;
    • If there is a change in any service charges you pay; or
    • If the property you live in changes.

  • If you move house or are about to move you should tell us as soon as possible. This can affect the amount of benefit you receive and prevent us from paying benefit to a previous landlord. You can let us know by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

    If you are liable for council tax please tell us about any changes of address to make sure you pay the right amount.

  • The time it takes us to process your change in circumstances depends on how straightforward it is, we may need to ask you for more information.

    If you tell us about the change immediately and submit your claim to us with all original proofs, we will aim to reassess it within 28 days.

    We’ll then write to you and tell you whether your housing benefit and / or council tax support has changed and the amount you’re now entitled to receive.

    This letter will be called:

    housing benefit decision notice; and/or

    Council Tax Support notification letter

  • You can tell us about a change in your circumstances by:


    Before you contact us, please read the verification guidance. This will tell you what information you will need to provide when you tell us about your change in circumstances.

  • Extra benefit could be awarded for up to an additional 12 week period after commencing work if:

    • You still have a minimum entitlement to Housing Benefit based on your new income
    • You were previously on Housing Benefit before you started work
    • You were claiming either Job Seekers Allowance/Income Support/Employment Support Allowance before starting work
    • You live within a certain postcode area
Frequently Asked Questions
    • No, the Housing Department tells us if your rent changes but you must tell us if you purchase your property under the Right to Buy scheme.

    • If you tell us within one month, the change will affect your benefit from the Monday after the date the change actually happened.

      If you don’t tell us within one month and you have been overpaid it will affect your benefit from the date of the change. However, if your benefit has been underpaid we will pay the increased amount from the Monday after you tell us, unless you have an acceptable reason.


    • If you become liable for rent on a new dwelling but do not move into it straight away because you have:

      • Applied for, and are awaiting a social fund payment for items connected to the move, and
      • Have a child aged under six in the household, or
      • Someone in the household is a pensioner or disabled and is in receipt of certain benefits

      You are eligible for Housing Benefit for up to 4 weeks before moving in, so long as the delay in moving is reasonable. However, to qualify - you must not have existing rental liability. However, to qualify - you must not have existing rental liability.

      If you have not moved into your new home straight away because the property needs to be adapted for a disabled person, you are eligible for Housing Benefit for up to 4 weeks before moving in, so long as the delay in moving is reasonable.

      For further help and information and to discuss your eligibility please ring the Contact Centre on 0121 464 7000 or contact your Local Customer Service Centre/Neighbourhood Office.

    • If you’re away from your home temporarily you must tell us.

      To qualify for housing benefit during a temporary absence from home three main rules must be met:

      • You must intend to return;
      • You must not have let or sub-let your home; and
      • Your absence must not be for longer than either 13 or 52 weeks, depending on the reasons.

      We will then continue to pay housing benefit for;

      Up to 52 weeks if you are:

      • Being held in custody pending trial or sentence;
      • Living in an approved bail hostel or an address away from your normal home as a condition of bail;
      • In hospital or receiving medically approved care*;
      • In a care home or independent hospital, for example, during respite care;
      • Absent because your partner or child is undergoing medical treatment or medically approved* convalescence; or
      • Away undertaking medically approved* care of someone else.

      *certified by a medical practitioner. This does not need a certificate.

      Up to 13 weeks if you are:

      • Going into a residential home or nursing care home on a trial basis, providing you intend to return home if the trial home is unsuitable;
      • Absent (in the UK or abroad) for any other reason, such as visiting family abroad, providing you intend to return to your normal home within a strict 13 week period;
      • If you are away from home temporarily and you are unsure if your benefit will continue please contact us by calling 0121 464 7000 to make an assisted application over the phone or by writing to us at:

        Birmingham City Council
        Benefit Service
        PO Box 8267
        Birmingham
        B4 7XF

        or Make an Appointment to Visit a Neighbourhood Office/Customer Service CentreBefore you contact us, please read the Verification Guidance. This will tell you what information you will need to provide when you tell us about your change in circumstances.
    • If you’re a council tenant you’ll receive a rent details notice, this will tell you how much rent you have to pay and when the first payment is due.

      If you’re a private tenant or tenant of a registered social landlord (housing association) you’ll need to contact your landlord for details to ensure your full rent is paid.

      If there has been a change to your council tax support you will receive a revised bill.

    • Please read the leaflet "Advice for prisoners and ex-offenders on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support" which can be found at the bottom of this page.

      Alternatively, you can notify us by using the online change of circumstances form at the top of this page.