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Change of circumstances

If you receive housing benefit or council tax support, you must tell us immediately if you or the people living with you have any changes in circumstances.

Some changes may mean you are entitled to more benefits, but others could mean you no longer qualify for benefits or should receive a lower amount.

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Always report any change in circumstances as soon as it happens.

Cornwall Council, as the Data Controller, is committed to protecting your privacy and any personal data you provide or we collect about you will be stored securely and only used for housing benefit/council tax support assessments, in accordance with our privacy notice.  We will not use your information for any other purpose or give it to anyone else unless we are required to do so by law.  For example, we have a duty to protect public funds so we may need to use the information held about you for the prevention and detection of fraud which would require us to share it with other Council statutory services or organisations responsible for auditing or administering public funds. 

Examples of changes you should report are:

  • A change of address
  • Your or your partner’s income goes up or down
  • Your or your partner’s savings go up or down
  • You or your partner start or stop working
  • Your or your partner’s benefits change
  • Anyone joins or leaves your household
  • The income or capital of any non-dependant in your household changes
  • You rent from a private landlord or housing association and your rent changes
  • You rent from a private landlord and the type of tenancy you have changes
  • You move to a new home

If you’re not sure whether you need to report a change, ring our benefits advice line on 0300 1234 121 to check.

You will need to provide proof of any change in circumstances.  When you have reported your change online you will receive an email with a link to a form which you can use to upload scanned images or photographs of any requested documentation. If you do not have the facility to do this, you can post the documents to us at:

PO Box 676

Please only send us photocopies of your documents. If you send an original document we will not be able to return this to you unless you ask us to return the document and enclose a stamped addressed envelope.  

Please ensure that your reference number or national insurance number is attached to any documentation that you provide.

If you tell us about changes as soon as they happen, we can adjust your claim quickly.  This means you’ll be paid the right amount of benefit, and it will help prevent benefit overpayments. You can report a change of address up to 4 weeks in advance if you already have a confirmed move date.

If your change in circumstance means you’ll get more benefit, your benefit will usually go up from the Monday after you tell us about the change.  If you don’t tell us about changes promptly, you’ll miss out on benefit owed to you.

If your change in circumstances means you’ll get less benefit, your benefit will usually go down from the Monday after the date of the change.

If you’re a landlord, you must tell us about any changes you are aware of.  For example, if your tenant moves out of the property you are letting.

If you’re a pensioner receiving either guaranteed pension credit or savings pension credit, you don’t have to tell us about any change in your income.  You need to tell the Pension Service instead.  They’ll work out your income level and tell us what it is.  The Pension Service will need to know that you’re claiming housing benefit or council tax support.

You should report all other changes to us.

If you don’t tell us promptly about a change of circumstances, we may take action against you.  This could include going to court, a fine or a formal warning called a caution.