How to Report a Change in Circumstances

People who claim welfare benefits need to report a change in circumstances – if and when it happens. In fact, reporting changes in your circumstances is the best way to ensure you keep getting the correct amount of benefits.

Furthermore, the benefits office can stop or reduce your payments if you fail to report a change when it happens (e.g. without delay) or you give incorrect or false information.

As a direct result, you might receive a benefits overpayment (e.g. get paid too much) and have to repay some of the money. In certain cases, you might also receive a DWP £50 penalty.

Note: Deliberately not reporting changes is committing benefit fraud. The GOV.UK guide explaining the reasons why your benefit payments could change is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

What Changes Do You Need to Report?

Some of the circumstantial changes that you must report while claiming social security benefits, include:

  • Changing your name (or gender), such as by a deed poll name change.
  • Starting a job, working different hours, or finishing a job.
  • Situations where your income goes up or goes down.
  • Starting (or ending) education, training, or one of the apprenticeships available for job seekers.
  • Moving home – or having people move into or out of the place where you live (e.g. your partner, a child, or a lodger).
  • The death of your spouse, partner, or someone you are living with.
  • Having a baby
  • Starting or stopping caring for someone.
  • Getting married, starting or ending a civil partnership, (or getting a divorce).
  • Making plans to go overseas of the United Kingdom for any length of time.
  • Going into hospital, a care home, or into sheltered accommodation.
  • Any changes to your existing medical condition or disability.
  • Changing your GP (doctor).
  • Changes to your:
    • Savings
    • Investments
    • Pension
    • Property
    • Other money you are getting (e.g. student loans or grants, sick pay or money you get from a charity).
  • Changes to the amount of benefits that you or anyone else in your household receives.
  • You or your partner receiving ‘arrears’ (also called back-pay) for salary or earnings.
Note: You also need to report changes that affect your Child Benefit (if you are claiming it) to guarantee you get the right amount.

Report a Change in Circumstances after a Death

What if someone dies when they are getting benefits? You can use the ‘Tell Us Once‘ service to report a death to most government organisations in one go.

You should contact the Bereavement Service to report the death of someone receiving Social Security benefits in Northern Ireland.

Who Do You Need to Report Changes to?

The office or department that you need to tell will depend on the actual benefits that you are getting.

Hence, you may need to report your change in circumstances to more than one of the government organisations (e.g. if you have several rights to benefits entitlement).

Universal Credit

If you are claiming Universal credit, you can report a change of circumstances through your online account or by contacting the Universal Credit helpline.

Pension Credit

You would need to report changes to the Pension Service helpline (or by postal methods) if there is a change to you and your partner’s personal and financial circumstances.

Disability benefits

Contact the Disability Service Centre to report changes if you are getting (either):

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Housing Benefit

You can report a change in circumstances if you are getting Housing Benefit to your local council authority (e.g. using the council finder facility on the GOV.UK website).

Child Benefit

The online service makes it easy to tell the Child Benefit Office about changes to your child’s circumstances. You can also phone or write to the Child Benefit Office.

Note: Contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus Office to report changes for all other benefits. They will ask you to provide your National Insurance number when you contact them.

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