Skip to main content

Changes in circumstances

Let us know about changes

You must tell us about any changes in yours, your partner’s and your household’s circumstances if you are claiming Housing Benefit. This is because even the smallest of changes can affect the amount of Housing Benefit you receive.

All changes in yours and your household’s circumstances must be notified to us within one month of the change taking place.

You must tell us if:

  • a pension from a previous employer changes or you start to get a pension from an employer
  • any of your children leave school or college or leave home
  • anyone moves into or out of your home, including lodgers and subtenants
  • changes in your landlord or managing agent Child Benefit stops or reduces
  • the income of any adults or children living with you stops, starts or changes, (including any benefits)
  • there are any changes in yours (or your partner’s) income or the source of your income; for example you start to get a social security benefit, you stop getting a social security benefit or your earnings increase or your hours at work increase or reduce

You must tell us if you or anyone living with you:

  • become a student or stop being a student
  • become an apprentice
  • change or leaves a job
  • go into or leaves hospital or a nursing home
  • go into or comes out of prison
  • go on or stop being on a youth training scheme
  • move, including a change of room in the same property
  • you or your partner are going to be away from home for 13 weeks or more
  • you or anyone living with you incorporate a limited company
  • you or anyone living with you start work (employed or self-employed)
  • you receive any decision from the Home Office
  • your capital or savings change
  • your rent changes, but not if you are a council tenant
  • your Tax Credits stop, start or change

This is not a full list. If you are not sure, ask us for advice. You must tell us about any changes in writing - a phone call is not enough.

If you have registered with My Account, you can report a change online.

Register or log in to My Account

Housing Benefit

Roycraft House, 15 Linton Road, Barking IG11 8HE

020 8227 2970

benefits@lbbd.gov.uk

If we pay you too little benefit because you did not tell us about a change in your circumstances straight away, you may lose the right to the arrears of underpaid benefit.

If we pay you more Housing Benefit than you are entitled to because you did not tell us about a change in your circumstances straight away, we will ask you to pay it back.

You are responsible for telling us about any changes. Do not rely on someone else to pass the message on. If you deliberately fail to tell us any changes that may affect your benefit, we may take court action against you.

If you're not sure if the change in your circumstances will affect your benefit, tell us about it straight away. You must tell the Housing Benefit section separately even if you have reported the change to another government or council department and they have told you that they will tell us for you.

Temporary absence from your property Toggle accordion

There are circumstances in which you can be temporarily absent from home without affecting your Housing Benefit.

These are listed in the table below:

Reason for absenceExample of absenceMaximum period of absence without affecting Housing BenefitMust have full intentions to return home throughout the entire absent periodCan the home be sub-let during this period?
Temporary absence - outside of England, Scotland and/or WalesHoliday (abroad)Up to 4 weeksYesNo
Temporary absence - within England, Scotland and/or WalesVisiting familyUp to 13 weeksYesNo
Residential care on a trial basis with a future move in dateYou are considering moving into residential care, and are away from your home whilst on a trial basis in residential care with a future move in dateUp to 13 weeksYesNo
A person who has moved out of their home for essential repair work to take placeA tenant’s ceiling has collapsed and the landlord is carrying out repairs on the property. In the meanwhile the tenant cannot reside at homeDependant on period of repairs and if the tenant is still liable to pay rent for the property being repairedYesNo
A person in prison, on remand'Unsentenced' remand prisoners (including prisoners in custody, awaiting trial, prisoners in custody during their trial and convicted prisoners held on remand awaiting a sentence)Up to 52 weeksYesNo
Approved government training coursePeople taking an approved government training courseUp to 52 weeksYesNo
Away because of bail conditionsIn a bail hostel, or bailed to live away from homeUp to 52 weeksYesNo
Claimant’s partner or child recovering under medical approvalHospital in-patients and those receiving or recovering from medically approved care in UK or abroad, but not in residential careUp to 52 weeksYesNo
Due to fear of violencePeople who are living away from due to the fear of violenceUp to 52 weeksYesNo
In a care homeIn a care home or independent hospital; for example, for respite careUp to 52 weeksYesNo
In hospital, or receiving medically approved careHospital in-patients and those receiving medically approved care in UK or abroad, but not in residential careUp to 52 weeksYesNo
Providing care for a childProviding care for a child whose parent or guardian is receiving medical treatment or medically approved careUp to 52 weeksYesNo
Providing medical approved careA claimant providing approved medical careUp to 52 weeksYesNo
StudentsStudents who are eligible for Housing Benefit may be absent from home for educational reasonsUp to 52 weeksYesNo
Temporary care in residential accommodationPeople receiving care in residential accommodation. This does not include those in residential accommodation for a trial periodUp to 52 weeksYesNo

Change of address Toggle accordion

If you are moving you need to tell us immediately as your Housing Benefit will need to be recalculated, regardless of whether your move is permanent or temporary.

Moving within Barking and Dagenham

If you are moving within Barking and Dagenham you will need to tell us immediately so we can recalculate your Housing Benefit entitlement.

You will need to complete a change of address form and provide proof of your new tenancy agreement. Housing Benefit can only be paid at your new home from when you move in, not from when your tenancy starts.

You must notify us of your change of address within one month of the move to avoid being overpaid.

Moving outside of Barking and Dagenham

If you are moving outside of Barking and Dagenham as you are being placed in temporary accommodation by our Housing Department, you will need to tell us immediately so we can recalculate your Housing Benefit entitlement.

You will need to complete a change of address form and provide proof of your new tenancy agreement. Housing Benefit can only be paid at your new home from when you move in, not from when your tenancy starts.

You must notify us of your change of address within one month of the move to avoid being overpaid.

If you are moving outside of Barking and Dagenham (not placed by our Housing Department), you will need to tell us immediately so we can end your Housing Benefit entitlement as you will need to claim Housing Benefit with the borough you are moving to.

If you delay telling us you may be overpaid.

Change of address form (PDF, 205.19 KB)

Housing Benefit on two homes Toggle accordion

Under Housing Benefit regulations you can usually only receive Housing Benefit for the one home you live in and consider your main residence. However, in certain circumstances, you may be able to receive Housing Benefit on 2 homes.

The below table outlines when you may be able to receive Housing Benefit on 2 homes.

Reasons you may have to pay rent at 2 homes at the same timeYou may qualify for benefit on 2 homes if you meet the following conditions:Example    Maximum periodOther conditionsMust move into the new home in order to qualify for benefit on 2 homes
You have moved from one home to another, and you have to pay rent for the notice period on your old home whilst paying rent at your new homeYou could not avoid paying rent on both propertiesYou have been offered cheaper accommodation which you had to accept straight away, and your previous landlord required a 4 week noticeWe can only consider paying Housing Benefit on both properties for up to four weeks or for the remainder of your notice period (if less than 4 weeks)If your old landlord rents your old home to a new tenant during this time, we will stop paying benefit for that propertyYes – benefit on two homes can only be considered from when you move into your new home
If you have a disability and are waiting for adaptations to be carried out on your new homeThe adaptations must be for you, your partner, your children, or any other young people in your household that you are responsible forYou are having a stair lift installed at home which will take one week to complete, and during this week you move into another home for which you are charged a week’s rentYou may receive Housing Benefit for the new home for up to 4 weeks from the tenancy start dateYou cannot claim if you are simply waiting for your home to be decorated or renovatedYes – benefit on 2 homes can only be considered from when you move into the new home, not from when the works started at the home being adapted
The adaptations must be for you, your partner, your children, or any other young people in your household that you are responsible forThis money will be paid after the adaptations are completed and you have moved in to the adapted homeThe type of work covered by an adaptation depends on the needs of the person with the disability. The adaptations must be carried out to make a home more suitable for a person with a disability
Whilst your home is being adapted you have temporarily moved into a new home for which you are being charged rent
If you have to move out of your current home because you are being (or think you may be)
threatened with violence
You are in fear of violence from anyone in your home, or outside your home by a member or former member of your family, and you are responsible for paying rent on both the property you have left and the property you have moved in toYou have moved into another home in fear of violence from a family member or a former family member, and are responsible for paying rent on both the property you have left and the property you have moved in toWe can consider paying Housing benefit on 2 homes for up to 52 weeksYou must intend to return to your original home throughout the entire period you are away. You must let us know immediately if at any time you decide not to return to your original homeYes - benefit on 2 homes can only be considered from when you move into another home
If you are a student and pay rent on 2 homes

You (or your partner) are away studying at university at a term time rented accommodation, whilst still liable for rent at your main home

or

Only if you cannot avoid living in 2 homes (for example if your course is not available locally, or because your family cannot move as your children are in school)

You are renting a property nearer to your university for 4 weeks whilst remaining liable for rent at your main home, and cannot avoid living in 2 homes as no other educational establishment provides the course you are studying
We will decide whether it is reasonable for us to pay Housing Benefit on both properties and for how long

When we decide whether you could avoid living in two properties we will look at several things, including:

1. Whether you could reasonably travel to the university each day, and whether you could have done a similar course within practical travelling distance from home

2. We will also look at reasons why your partner and family could not move closer to the university, and the ties that keep them in their current area

Yes – benefit on 2 homes can only be considered from when you move into another property
If you have a large familyIf you have a large family and you rent 2 homes because your family is too big to fit into one home, we may pay Housing Benefit on both propertiesThere are 14 members in your household. Our Housing Department decide to place 7 members in one home, and the other 7 members in another home as we did not have a property big enough to place your family as a wholeIf we have arranged both homes we can pay you benefit on both indefinitely

We must have arranged both homes (although we do not have to own them). You cannot get help if you have found these properties yourself    

Or:

If you and your family live in 2 homes which are so close together that you use both homes as if they are one house, we could consider treating the 2 properties as one. Your family will need to live permanently in both properties, with all members of your household using both properties as one home

Yes – benefit on 2 homes can only be considered from when you and your family have moved into each home

Reviewing your claim Toggle accordion

We will need to look at your claim from time to time to make sure your benefit is correct, this is known as a review.

We will be carrying out checks on claims throughout the year. As part of these checks we may need to:

  • send you a short claim form to fill in
  • telephone you
  • visit you at home

Where the law allows we share information with the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC and look into any cases where the information does not match.

You must tell us about any changes you think might affect your Housing Benefit. If you don’t, you may receive too much or too little benefit, which could result in an overpayment.

Don’t wait for us to review your claim. You must notify all changes in yours or your household’s circumstances within one month of the change taking place.

Suspension Toggle accordion

When you, your partner or a member of your household have had a change in your circumstances, or when we think there may have been a change in circumstances, we may suspend your claim.

We may sometimes suspend your claim if we have been advised that your, your partner’s or a member of your household’s circumstances is due to change or has changed.

This means you will not receive any further payments until you have provided us with proof of your, your partner’s or your household’s new circumstances.

You have one month from the date of our suspension letter to provide us with the relevant proof. The suspension date is the date of the letter, not the day you received the letter.

Our letter will tell you what you need to provide. If you do not provide us with relevant proof, or sufficient proof, we will have to make an assumption that the change in circumstances would lead to you not qualifying for Housing Benefit. This could also mean that you may be overpaid Housing Benefit.

Housing Benefit

Roycraft House, 15 Linton Road, Barking IG11 8HE

020 8227 2970

benefits@lbbd.gov.uk

Any delay in providing proof after one month from the suspension date has passed could lead to you having to make a new claim.