What changes to report

There are a number of changes to your circumstances that can affect how much housing benefit you get.

New partner

Have you married, entered a civil partnership or are you now living with your partner? If you are living with your husband, wife or partner your circumstances will be assessed jointly.

New child

Has someone in your home had a baby or adopted a child? Having a new child can sometimes mean a small increase in housing benefit. Find out how councils calculate the number of bedrooms it uses when working out how much housing benefit you can get if you are a council or housing association tenant or rent privately.

Child gets older

Child benefit usually stops after your child turns 18. Your child then becomes a non-dependant if they live with you. Your housing benefit may be reduced, because your council usually expects them to contribute towards your rent.

Another adult in the house

Has a friend or relative moved into your home? They are usually expected to pay something towards your rent, and your housing benefit could be reduced.

Renting a room to a lodger

Taking in a lodger is likely to reduce your housing benefit.

Death in the family

Has someone in your home died? Most councils use the Tell Us Once service, which means the council arranges for the relevant departments to be told, including housing benefit.

Away from home

Are you going to be away from your home for work, a hospital stay, prison or travel? If you are going to be away for more than 13 weeks, you may not be entitled to housing benefit.


If you have been declared disabled or care for someone who is, you may be entitled to more housing benefit. Let your council know if you have been awarded a disability benefit such as disability living allowance, attendance allowance, personal independence payment or carer's allowance.

Change in income

You must declare changes to your and your partner's income. This includes income from wages, self-employed work, most benefits, student loans and child support payments. Some income is ignored when calculating housing benefit.

Change in savings

The amount of savings you have affects the amount of housing benefit you are entitled to. Your housing benefit is reduced if you have savings of more than:

  • £6,000 and you're of working age
  • £10,000 and you're of pension age

Starting new job or a change in hours

Are you or your partner working more or less than before? Have either of you stopped working? A change in your working hours is likely to mean your income has also changed. This affects your housing benefit claim.

Starting college

Have you started studying full-time? Many full-time students aren't entitled to housing benefit.

Change in rent

You don't need to report rent changes if you are a council tenant, as the council sets rents and pays housing benefit. If you are a private or housing association tenant, tell the council about rent changes. You may face a housing benefit shortfall due to a rent increase.

Moved to a new home

If you move within your council area, you must tell the council your new address. The amount of rent you pay affects your housing benefit. If you move to a new council area, you may have to make a new claim. Your benefit may also be affected if your new home has a different number of bedrooms.

Claiming for two homes

You may be able to claim housing benefit for two homes if you have to:

  • take up a new tenancy, but can't end your existing tenancy before the new one starts
  • move because of abuse or violence
  • wait for adaptations to your home

Ask your council for more details

Your local council's website should have a full list of the changes in circumstances you must report.

Sonia's Story: 'Reporting income changes is so important'

After getting divorced, Sonia had to sell her house, which made no profit. In order to meet the cost of renting, Sonia had to apply for housing benefit. Read Sonia's full story.

Last updated 07 Jun 2016 | © Shelter

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