Change of circumstances

Change of circumstances

If you are already claiming housing benefit, the information below will apply to you.

Housing benefit change of circumstances

It is crucial you inform of us of any changes in circumstances – yours or a member of your household’s.

You should do this within one month of the change to ensure you don’t lose money you are entitled to, or receive too much money you will have to pay back.

How to report a change of circumstances

You must notify us of your change in writing in one of the following ways:

By post
Download a change in circumstances form here and post the completed form to the address below.

If you receive Housing Benefit from Northumberland Council and are moving within the Northumberland area you can download a change of address form here if you wish to continue claiming Housing Benefit at your new address and post the completed form to the address below.

Benefit Section
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
Ashington
Northumberland
NE63 9XL


In person
Visit one of our customer information centres where you can notify us of your change.

It is important you provide us with the original evidence that supports your change in circumstances where appropriate, for example, pay slips, bank statements or birth certificates.

If you require further help or information, please phone 0345 600 6400 (charged at your local rate).
You may use our benefits calculator to see how your change in circumstances may affect your benefit.

Examples of changes you must tell us about

Changes to your income
You need to tell us if:

  • you, or anyone living with you, gets a job (regardless of working hours), changes their job, or leaves their job
  • ​you start or stop getting income support, jobseekers' allowance, employment support allowance
  • you start or stop getting tax credits
  • the money you or your partner gets increases or decreases
  • the money non-dependants get increases or decreases
  • there are any other changes in the money people in your home get

Changes in your home
You need to tell us if:

  • you change your address
  • the number of people in your home changes
  • anyone moves into or out of your home (including lodgers/sub-tenants)
  • ​your rent changes, your landlord changes, or moves

Other changes
You need to tell us if:

  • you, or your partner, go into hospital for more than six weeks
  • you, or your partner, become a student, or stop being a student
  • the amount of savings or capital you have changes
  • ​any of your children leave school or home
  • someone starts to receive Universal Credit

In all cases, it is your duty to notify us of any changes in your circumstances. Do not rely on someone else to pass the message on.

Housing benefit overpayments

An overpayment occurs when a benefit payment is made to someone who is not entitled to it. This normally happens when we are not informed of changes in circumstances quickly, when there have been mistakes or delays in processing claims, or when a fraudulent claim has been made.

Repay a housing benefit overpayment
If you have received an invoice for overpayment and wish to pay back the full amount, or if you have an arrangement with us to repay an invoice, you can pay in a number of ways:

Via credit or debit card

  • Online via the above link
  • Telephone: 0345 600 6400 (charged at your local rate)
  • Standing order: You can either request, or set up your own standing order via online banking. You need to quote the following:
Bank Name: Barclays Bank PLC
Sort Code: 20-58-25
Account Number: 53023915

You must also quote your invoice number as your reference.

By post
Please make your cheque or postal order payable to Northumberland County Council and post to:

Income Section
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
NE61 2EF

Please ensure your invoice number is on the back of the cheque or postal order.

In person
Please take your barcoded bill with you to any of our customer information centres and pay by cash, debit/credit card or cheque. You can also take your bill to any post office or pay point outlet.

The barcode on the front of your bill will be used to process your payment. You will be given a receipt and there is no fee for this service.

More about overpayments
An overpayment is recoverable from either the person who caused, or the person who received the overpayment. Recovery thereof will not prejudice any criminal proceedings that may be taken by the council, in respect of fraudulent overpayments.
  • If the tenant is currently receiving housing benefit, overpayment will be recovered from future benefit payments, weekly.
  • If payments are made directly to the landlord, the tenant’s reduced entitlement will be reflected by the amount of benefit issued every four weeks.
  • The tenant is responsible for paying rent arrears that occur as a result of the reduced amount paid to the landlord.
  • If the tenant does not receive housing benefit, overpayment may be recovered from other benefits or an invoice may be issued.
  • If the council decide to recover overpayment from a landlord, it will issue an invoice, or make deductions from other tenant benefits paid to that landlord. The amount of the deductions should not be treated as rent arrears for those tenants, and the landlord must try not to recover the shortfall from them.
  • If the person liable to repay is working, the council can instruct their employer to deduct a percentage of net earning weekly or monthly until the overpayment has been fully repaid.

What to do if you disagree with the overpayment

  • Claimants can ask for a review of a decision to calculate an overpayment. Any request should be made within one month of the decision notice.
  • A landlord can request a review within one month of the decision notice, where an invoice for payment has been issued to them, or a deduction is being made from benefits received by them, in order to recover an overpayment owed by the landlord in respect of another tenant.
  • Where an invoice addressed to a landlord remains unpaid, or an agreed arrangement over time is not being maintained, the council may take action in the county court.
  • If a landlord habitually fails to repay overpayments, the council can decide they are not a fit and proper person under benefit regulations, and can refuse to make direct benefit payments to them.
For further details, please view our overpayment factsheet.