Report a benefits change of circumstances
New housing benefit claims and changes of circumstances
Following work to recover our systems and data after the cyberattack, we’re working hard to process the backlog of new housing benefit claims and notifications of changes of circumstance that we’ve received since October 2020.
Assessments are taking significantly longer than normal and we’re prioritising new claims from vulnerable individuals, including those in supported accommodation or at risk of eviction. If you’re at imminent risk of eviction call us on 020 8356 3399 and we’ll look into your case and the support we can provide.
We anticipate that most residents and landlords will feel that the service we offer will have returned to normal by the end of this calendar year. There’ll still be some ongoing work on the very most complex cases until summer 2022.
If you need to claim housing benefit, you can do so as normal.
Thank you for your patience while we work to complete the recovery work and request that, if possible, you avoid contacting us about outstanding issues while we work as quickly as we can to process the significant backlog of cases caused by the attack, although we understand your frustration.
Landlords and residents who have urgent queries should call us on 020 8356 3399 and not email individual officers, as this will ensure the case is picked up.
Council tax reduction
Work to recover the council tax system following the cyberattack of October 2020 is ongoing and we’re currently unable to assess or adjust claims for council tax reduction (CTR). We hope that we’ll be able to provide this service soon.
As part of the recovery process, we’ve started sending out revised council tax bills.
If you’ve received a council tax bill, and normally receive CTR, don’t worry. Action for non-payment of council tax won’t commence until any issues with your CTR are resolved.
In the meantime, continue to pay as much as you can afford towards your council tax to prevent arrears from accruing. We would recommend making the same payments as during 2020/21 unless you have had a major change in your circumstances.
If you receive housing benefit or council tax reduction and there is a change in any of your personal circumstances, you must let us know as soon as possible.
The types of changes you should tell us about include:
Tax credits changes
The tax credit office regularly reviews the amount of tax credit you receive. Once you receive a letter from them, please contact us, as it may affect your housing benefit or council tax reduction.
If you move home or have a change in address, you must tell us immediately.
Income support/job seekers allowance has stopped
If job seekers allowance (income based) or income support has stopped, then you need to let us know as soon as possible.
You should also provide proof of your new income and any savings you may have.
Changes to your income or savings
If either you, your partner or another household member has a change in income or savings you must notify us of the change. We will require you to provide proof.
Change to your rent
You must tell us if your private rent charges change.
Changes to the people living with you
If you or your partner leave the household, then a new form should be completed by the person remaining in the home. It will be likely that your income will have changed and new proof and details will be required.
If anyone, including a non-dependent or dependent joins or leaves your household, you must inform us and let us know the date of the change. This is also the case if a boarder, tenant, sub-tenant or care leaver moves into or leaves your address.
We may not be able to remove someone from an address without details of their forwarding address and if you are unable to provide a forwarding address you will need to provide an explanation.
Absence from home
You will need to tell us if you or your partner leave Great Britain for a period of 4 weeks or more. Your entitlement to housing benefit will cease if you are absent from the country for over 4 weeks.
If your absence is within Great Britain, you can still be away for up to 13 weeks as long as you intend to return to your home, and have not sublet. However you should still inform us that you will be away.
Tell us of a change as soon as possible
We need to be informed of all changes in your circumstances as soon as possible. If you delay it could lead to an overpayment that you will need to pay back. If you fail to report a change of circumstances within a month of the change, you may lose benefit as a result.
Benefits contact line
- Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm