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Claiming Benefits - Change in circumstances

Benefits and tax credits are payments from the government to certain people on low incomes, or to meet specific needs. Read our guide to find out more about them and how to claim.

Change in circumstances

My situation has changed since making my claim. Do I have to let anyone know?

It is very important to let the relevant benefit office know when there has been a change in your circumstances which could affect your benefit entitlement. This is because your benefits depend on the information you gave when you made your claim.

When you make a claim you will be told which changes must be reported and how long you have to report the change.

Common changes include:

  • You start living with someone

  • You stop living with someone. For example, you separate from your partner

  • You get a job

  • Your hours of work change

  • You get a pay rise

  • You win or inherit some money

  • Your child reaches the age of 16 or moves out

  • You stop getting benefits like Income Support

  • You go into hospital or into residential care.

If your circumstances change, you may be entitled to more benefit, less benefit, or you may no longer be entitled to get the benefit at all. 

If you do not inform the relevant benefits office you could be paid too much benefit and have to pay it back, and this could count as fraud which is a criminal offence.

If you get into trouble because you did not report a change in your circumstances, it is very important to get expert advice as soon as you can.

For more information, see the GOV.UK information on civil penalties for not reporting changes that affect your benefits.

The Gov.UK website also has information on changes that affect your tax credits

Separating from a partner

If you have recently separated from a person with whom you used to live as partners, the benefits you can get may have changed.

After separating from your partner, you may receive some benefits or tax credits that you were not able to get when living with a partner, or you might get an increased or decreased amount of the same benefits and Tax Credits.

Generally any benefits paid to you personally for your needs, for example, Disability Living Allowance, will continue to be paid once you have separated from a partner. However, you should tell everyone who pays you benefits or Tax Credits that you have separated, so that they can check if it could affect your benefit entitlement. 

You might be receiving benefits from Jobcentre Plus, HM Revenue and Customs and/or your local authority and should tell each office about your change. 

If you do not let them know as soon as you can that you are now a single person, you might be paid too much benefit that you may have to pay back.

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