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Housing Benefit: Changes in your circumstances

Last updated 31 March 2014

If you receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support (including Second Adult Reduction), you must tell us immediately 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 we can pay you.

You may lose benefit if you delay telling us about a change in your circumstances. If you are paid too much benefit as a result, you may have to pay it back.

You may be prosecuted if you deliberately give us false information or if you do not tell us of a change in your circumstances in order to get more benefit than you are entitled to.

How do I tell you?

You can tell us about the change:

  • By using the online change of circumstances form
  • By phoning Waltham Forest Benefits Service on 020 8496 8550 Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm.
  • By writing to us at: The Benefits Service, London Borough of Waltham Forest, PO Box 856, London. E17 9PN
  • Visiting Leyton, Leytonstone, North Chingford or Walthamstow Library. You can drop off evidence and report a change Monday to Friday 9am-5pm 
  • Visiting Customer Service Centre, 137 Hoe Street, Walthamstow. E17 4RT.  Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. 

You must not rely on someone else, such as your landlord, the Job Centre 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::

  • Your Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance stops
  • You move home or change address
  • There is a change in your income or benefits, or in the income or benefits of anyone living with you
  • You start to get tax credits, or if your tax credits change or stop. Please tell us the reason your tax credits have changed, if you know it
  • Anyone moves in or out of your home
  • There is a birth or death in your household
  • Anyone comes to stay with you (even for a short time)
  • You start a new job, change jobs or your hours change
  • You stop working
  • You claim any other benefit (including Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance)
  • Your capital and/or savings increase (unless they remain under £6,000)
  • You start or stop receiving Child Benefit for a child
  • Your child stops or starts being a student
  • You are going to be away from home for a period of time
  • You are going into hospital

These are only examples of changes you need to tell us about. If you are not sure if a change might affect your benefit, contact us for more information.

What evidence do I need to provide?

Earnings / income

  • Your and/or your partner’s contract of employment, if the employment is new and you do not have enough pay slips
  • Your and/or your partner’s last two monthly, three fortnightly or five consecutive weekly wage slips
  • If you and/or your partner are now self-employed please:
    – Provide an estimate of what your earnings and expenses will be for the next six months. Please list all the expenses separately
    – State what type of self-employment you and/or your partner are doing and how many hours per week you and/or your partner work
  • If you and/or your partner have other income please provide proof of all the other income for both of you

If you have no income please state how you are supporting yourself and if you are receiving help from friends or family, please provide statements from them confirming how they are supporting you.

Capital

  • Proof of any capital for both you and your partner have. We need to see the last two monthly statements for every bank or building society account you and your partner have
  • Proof of any other investments or assets you and your partner have, including stocks and shares, premium bonds and property you own in the UK or abroad

Child care costs 

If you have child care costs, you must give the name, address and registration number of the registered child minder with any receipts or invoices. 

Other people in your home

Please list all the people living in your home.

You must provide proof of income for any non-dependant over 18 in your household If they are:

  • Working: please provide last two monthly, three fortnightly or five consecutive weekly wage slips
  • A student: please provide student exemption certificate or a letter from the institute at which they are studying
  • Receiving Income Support or Job Seeker's Allowance: please provide evidence
  • If you are still receiving Child Benefit for them: please provide evidence

The evidence requested must be provided within one calendar month from the date of this letter.

Please note that we must see original documents which we do not recommend are sent through the post. You may therefore wish to make an appointment with us to provide the evidence and to do this please call us on 0208 496 8550.

If you need any guidance or help or are having difficulties gathering the evidence please call us on 0208 496 8550, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

If you do not provide all relevant evidence relating to your current circumstances we will assume that the missing evidence would show that you would not qualify for benefit. If we have to make such an assumption, and you still want to receive Housing Benefit, you will need to submit a new claim form, and your benefit will only be considered from the date of the new application.

Moving home

The Government has changed the way the Council calculates and pays Housing Benefit for some private tenants. Help with the cost of rent will be called Local Housing Allowance and will take the place of Housing Benefit.

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.

If you want to apply, please complete the claim form and return it with supporting evidence.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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