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Benefits: reporting a change in circumstances

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To make sure you're getting the award you are entitled to, you need to let us know about any changes straight away.

Tell us about a change in circumstances

We prefer you to tell us about any changes online. This speeds things up, saves public money and frees up time so we can support those who are unable to apply online.

Please give us as much information as you can so we can update your details as quickly as possible. Even if you do not have all your supporting documents, you should still tell us about your change in circumstances.

What you need to tell us about

You must let us know about any changes to:

  • the people that live in your house
  • the income of anyone in your house
  • your capital

If you’re not sure if your change in circumstance will affect your benefits, tell us anyway.

People who live in your household

You must let us know if:

  • anyone moves into or out of your home, including lodgers and subtenants
  • you have a child
  • any of your children leave school or leave home
  • you or your partner are going to be away from home for four weeks or more
  • someone you live with dies

Where you live

You need to let us know if you move, including moving to another flat or room at the same address.

Please note: If you are moving to a different council area, you may need to apply for Universal Credit.

Your income

You need to let us know if:

  • your income or income of anyone living with you changes, including getting other benefits, like Tax Credits
  • you or your partner's wages go up or down
  • you or anyone living with you starts work
  • you or your partner have started, changed or lost their job

Your capital

You must let us know if:

  • your capital or savings change
  • We need to know if you have more than £6,000 if you are working age, £10,000 if you are of State Pension Credit Qualifying Age, or if have more than £16,000 in your bank accounts or in assets

When you need to tell us

You need to tell us about a change in your circumstances within 21 days.

It's important that you inform us as quickly as possible because you may:

  • miss out on money you are entitled to
  • be overpaid
  • have to pay a financial penalty

You or your partner are temporarily absent from your property

There may be times when you need to be away from your property either within the UK or outside of the UK, for example for health reasons, because of a crisis, to visit family and friends or because of a holiday.

It’s important that you tell us straight away if you are going to be away from your property. If we try to contact you and we’re not aware of your absence, your Council Tax Support may be cancelled.

Below are a few examples of when you may still qualify for benefit whilst being absent from your property:

  • if you are absent from your property for less than 13 weeks (so long as the absence is within Great Britain)
  • If you are absent from your property outside of Great Britain for a maximum of four weeks
  • If the absence is for approved medical care (evidence may be requested) up to 52 weeks if this is within Great Britain or up to 26 weeks outside of Great Britain

Other changes not covered above

If you've had a change in your circumstances and it's not listed above, report the change to us anyway.

Report changes online

Bournemouth area residents

Use our online form to report a change of circumstances.

Christchurch and Poole area residents

To change your address, please use the online change of address form.

For all other changes in circumstances or if you are moving to a different council area, please complete the online change of circumstances form.

What will happen next

We aim to update your account within two weeks of you letting us know about the change in circumstances, even if there’s no change to your award.

If you have an online account, you can log in to see if the change of circumstance has been applied to your award.

Please contact us for any help you need with benefits.

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