Change of circumstances

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

It is crucial that you inform of us of any changes in circumstances. These changes can relate to yourself, or another member of your household.

If your circumstances have changed, you must notify us within one month of the change to ensure you don’t lose money you are entitled to, or receive too much money that you will have to pay back.

Please see below for our benefits calculator:

How to report a change of circumstances:

By post
If you need to notify us of a change of circumstances: If you receive Housing Benefit from Northumberland Council and are moving within the Northumberland area, you can fill out a change of address form: Please download, print, and return the above forms to:

Benefit Section
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
NE63 9XL

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).

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
PLEASE NOTE: 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.
If you are already claiming housing benefit and need additional financial help, we may be able to help you.

An overpayment occurs when a benefit payment is made to someone who is not entitled to it. This usually happens when:

  • we are not informed of changes in circumstances quickly 
  • when there have been mistakes or delays in processing claims 
  • when a fraudulent claim has been made
If you need to repay an overpayment, please see below:

Repaying an 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:

Credit or debit card
  •  via the link above 
  • Telephone: 0345 600 6400 (charged at your local rate)
  • Standing order: You can either request or set up your own standing order. You need to quote the following:
Bank Name: Barclays Bank PLC
Sort Code: 20-58-25
Account Number: 53023915
PLEASE NOTE: You must 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
NE61 2EF

PLEASE NOTE:  Your invoice number must be stated on the back of the cheque or postal order.

In person

Please take your barcoded bill with you to any of our customer services centres and pay by cash, debit/credit card or cheque. You can also take your bill to any Post Office or PayPoint outlet.

The barcode on the front of your bill will be used to process your payment. You will be given a receipt. 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, the overpayment will be recovered from future benefit payments.
  • 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, the overpayment may be recovered from other benefits or an invoice may be issued.
  • If the council decides 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 not 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 earnings weekly or monthly until the overpayment has been fully repaid.
What if I disagree with the overpayment?
  • Claimants can ask for a review of a decision to calculate an overpayment within one month of the decision notice.
  • A landlord can request a review within one month of this 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 person under benefit regulations, and can refuse to make direct benefit payments to them.
Please view our overpayment factsheet.
People who deliberately claim benefits they are not entitled to are committing a criminal offence. If a landlord, who is paid housing benefit directly, fails to notify the council their tenant has left the property, they may be committing benefit fraud.