What happens if my circumstances change?

The law says that you must inform us if there are any changes to the information we have used to decide the amount of Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance, and/or Council Tax Reduction you are entitled to.

You must inform the Local Authority if there has been a change in your circumstances that may make a difference to your existing entitlement to Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance, and/or Council Tax Reduction. Please see - 'When do I have to tell you about changes?'

Telling another Government department - such as the Inland Revenue, Jobcentre Plus or the Department for Work and Pensions - does not mean that we will be notified about the changes.

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What kind of changes do I have to tell you about?

If you are a pensioner please also see 'What happens if I am a pensioner and my circumstances change?'

Here are some examples of changes you should inform us about:

Any changes to your Benefits

For example, if you or your partner (if applicable) start or stop receiving:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity or Sickness Benefit
  • Any other benefit

Changes in income

For example, if there is any change to your or your partner's (if applicable) income. Tell us if it starts, stops, the amount increases or decreases. This will include:

  • Wages
  • Tax credits
  • Work pensions
  • Maintenance
  • Any other income

People who live with you

You must inform 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
  • If someone who lives with you starts or stops work
  • If there is a change in the income of someone who lives with you
  • A child is born
  • A child leaves school

Bank Accounts, Savings and Investments

You must inform us if there are any changes in the level of your or your partner's (if applicable) capital/savings. You do not have to tell us about minor changes in your current account or day to day changes in any stocks or shares you hold. You must tell us if:

  • Your savings go over £6,000 (if under the qualifying age for State Pension Credit) or £10,000 (if over the qualifying age for State Pension Credit) for the first time
  • Your savings go over £16,000 for the first time
  • Your savings go down by a large amount because you have had to make an essential purchase

Private rents

You must tell us if:

  • Your landlord increases or decreases your rent.
  • The services included in your rent change.
  • The part of the property you live in changes

Other changes

You must tell us if you or your partner (if applicable):

  • Move
  • Live away from home
  • Become a student or finish a course
  • Go into hospital
  • Go into prison
  • Have a partner of the same sex and living together as a married couple

The above does not cover all of the changes we need to know about. If you are not sure whether we need to know about a change let us know anyway. Do not leave it until the next time you fill in a claim form.

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What happens if I am a pensioner and my circumstances change?

Some pensioners do not have to report all changes in their circumstances in the same way as other people.

The main rules are: -

If you ARE receiving Pension Credit

You should inform the Pension Service about any changes in your income. The Pension Service will inform the Local Authority if the change in your income affects your entitlement to Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction.

You should inform the Local Authority immediately about any other changes, for example, changes to your capital/savings, rent or any people who live with you.

Please see 'What kind of changes do I have to tell you about?' for further information.

If you are NOT receiving Pension Credit

You should inform the Local Authority immediately about any changes.

Please see 'What kind of changes do I have to tell you about?' for further information.

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When do I have to tell you about changes?

By law changes in your circumstances should be reported immediately.

In the case of Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance:

Any change in your circumstances notified within one month will usually take effect from the Monday following the date the change occurred.

If any change in your circumstances results in you receiving more benefit, then you must inform us within one month. Failure to do so will result in your benefit only being increased from the date you informed us.

Any decrease in your benefit entitlement will be done from the date of change irrespective of when you inform the Local Authority. Therefore, you need to inform us as soon as possible to avoid any potential overpayment.

In the case of Council Tax Reduction:

Under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme by Law you must report any changes that affect your eligibility for a reduction within 21 days beginning with the day on which the change occurs.  Failure to do so may result in prosecution.  Any resulting Council Tax Reduction that you are not entitled to will be repayable to the Council.

Changes that affect your entitlement to a reduction will usually take effect from the day of the actual change.

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How should I tell you about any changes?

You can report a change of circumstances by completing a Change in Circumstances form, or Change of Address form which can be downloaded from the Downloadable Forms page. Alternatively you can contact the Local Authority via email at revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk, by phone on 01970 633252 or by writing to the Local Authority at the address shown on the contact page and a form will be sent to you. You can also visit and collect a form at one of our Local District Offices.

The completed form can be returned via email to revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or posted to the Local Authority at the address shown on the contact page or returned to your Local District Office.

You will need to inform us:

  • What has changed
  • The date of change
  • Details of the change – for example, new amounts of income, the date someone moved in or out, etc

We will also need to see documentary evidence of the change. Remember, we need to see original documentation – we cannot accept photocopies. Examples of the documents you will have to provide may be:

  • Your rent notice if your rent has increased or decreased
  • You or your partner's (if applicable) benefit award letter if your benefits have changed
  • You or your partner's (if applicable) new wage slips if your wages have changed
  • You or your partner's (if applicable) latest bank statements if your savings have changed

Please see Supporting Evidence Checklist for further information.

If you do not have all the evidence and information to support your change in circumstances, do not delay in informing the Local Authority. You can forward any documentary evidence when it becomes available.

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I am starting work, what do I need to do?

If you have been getting Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (income based), Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance and these are stopping because you are starting work or your hours/earnings from your current employment increase, you may be entitled to Extended Payments/Extended Reduction.

You may also still be entitled to Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction after you start work if you have a low income. If you do not have the required number of payslips in support of your claim you can ask your employer to provide an estimate of your gross earnings, tax and national insurance deductions to enable your entitlement to be considered on a provisional basis. Details of your actual earnings can then be forwarded when received.  Please see Supporting Evidence Checklist for further information.

You will also need to complete a Change in Circumstance form and provide documentary evidence of all your other weekly income and capital/savings.

You can download a Change in Circumstances form or alternatively you can contact the Local Authority via email at revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk, by phone on 01970 633252 or by writing to the Local Authority at the address shown on the contact page and a form will be sent to you. You can also visit and collect a form at one of our Local District Offices.

The completed form can be returned via email to revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or posted to the Local Authority at the address shown on the contact page or returned to your Local District Office.

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I am changing address, what do I need to do?

If you move address you should complete a change of address form immediately.

You can download a Change of Address form or alternatively you can contact the Local Authority via email at revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk, by phone on 01970 633252 or by writing to the Local Authority at the address shown on the contact page and a form will be sent to you. You can also visit and collect a form at one of our Local District Offices.

The completed form can be returned via email to revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or posted to the Local Authority at the address shown on the contact page or returned to your Local District Office.

If however, you are thinking of moving to a private rented property, you can find out the maximum Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance you may be entitled to prior to moving.

If your prospective tenancy falls under the Local Housing Allowance scheme this is based on the number of rooms you and your family (if applicable) need and the area in which you live. To find out which area the property you wish to rent is located, please check directly with the Rent Service by entering the postcode on their website, LHA Direct. 

The maximum LHA rate that will apply to your claim will be the rate from the April of the financial year you claim i.e. April 2016 LHA rates will apply for claims made or treated as made during the period 01.04.2016 to 31.03.2017.

Once you have established the number of bedrooms you and your family (if applicable) need you can – "View current rates for Ceredigion".

Please see "Local Housing Allowance" if the rent charged by your landlord is lower/higher than the Local Housing Allowance rate.

For tenancies not affected by Local Housing Allowance, you can find out how much of the rent we will use to work out your Housing Benefit before you decide to occupy the property. You can do this by filling in a pre-tenancy determination form.

You can contact us on 01970 633252, email us at revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or call in at any of our Local District Offices to request a pre-tenancy determination form.

Please note that the weekly Local Housing Allowance rates/pre-tenancy determination figures provide the maximum level of benefit that could be paid. Your actual benefit entitlement will depend on your income and circumstances.

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What happens after I have told you about a change?

Whenever we make a change to your Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction, we will send you new notification letters which will show the changes we have made. You must check the details on these letters carefully to ensure they are correct. If any of the details we have used in assessing your claim are incorrect, please inform us immediately. Failure to do so may lead to an overpayment of benefit/reduction, which you may have to pay back later.

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