Housing Benefit warning: Britons must report changes ‘straight away’ to avoid payment stop

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Housing Benefit is intended to help those who are unemployed, or who are claiming particular benefits. While it is being replaced by Universal Credit, this is an incremental process, which means many are still actively claiming the sum from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).There is no set amount of Housing Benefit which has been outlined by the DWP.

Instead, Britons will gain support with all or part of their rent, depending on their circumstances.

Amounts will vary if a person rents privately, compared to renting from a local council.

However, what is worth noting is that there are certain changes which will need to be reported to the DWP as and when they occur.

A failure to do so “straight away”, the government has stated, could mean Britons find their payment reduced or stopped altogether.

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Changes will not only need to be reported for the individual claiming the Housing Benefit, but also for anyone else who lives in the house.

Such changes are extensive, but relate to a person’s circumstances, income and living situation.

A report will need to be raised if there are changes, for example, to income, savings, investments, property or pension saving.

If there are people moving into or out of the home, or rent goes up or down, this will also need to be raised.

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If someone in the home dies, or the claimant has a baby, this also counts as a change in circumstances and will need to be reported.

As the list of changes to circumstances is extensive, some may need further guidance.

Consequentially, Britons are encouraged to reach out to their local council if they are unsure if they need to report a change.

Changes in circumstances should be reported to a local council as quickly as possible after they occur.

For those who are in receipt of other benefits, changes in circumstances to these payments will also need to be raised.

If a person has their benefits stopped, for example if they return to work or earn more money, then Housing Benefit may increase.

A local council may give a person an extra four weeks of housing benefit known as ‘Extended Payment of Housing Benefit’.

Alternatively, a council could start paying a claimant an ‘in-work Housing Benefit’, instead.

There may, however, be an instance where a person receives more Housing Benefit than that to which they are entitled.

This, too, counts as something which must be reported to the DWP “straight away”.

Britons may be required to repay the money if they do not report the change promptly, gave wrong information, or were overpaid by mistake.

If people do not tell benefit providers about overpayments, the government has warned, they could be prosecuted for benefit fraud.

If a landlord is responsible for overpayment, they may be asked to repay the money.

However, if responsibility lies with the claimant then it will be their repayment to deal with.

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