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My benefit entitlement

What to do if your benefit entitlement changes

The amount of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support you are entitled to depends on your household income, savings, rent and other matters relating to your household.

When there is change in any of these circumstances the amount of benefit you are entitled to may increase or decrease. You may also be no longer entitled to benefits.

If there has been a change in your entitlement and you disagree with it, you can submit a dispute. We will review your claim and give you an explanation of your entitlement. After we have reviewed your claim your entitlement may stay the same or we may make an adjustment to the amount you are entitled.

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Changes in your circumstances

You need to let us know if there is a change in your personal or household circumstances.

If there has been a change in your circumstances and you have not told us, you will need to let us know by completing the change of circumstances form.

This will ensure that you are receiving the correct amount of benefit.

Below are some of the common reasons for a change in benefit entitlement.

Income

We use the amount of income your household receives to work out the amount of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support you are entitled to.

If your income changes a lot, for example because you work different hours each week, we will use the average amount of your income to work out your entitlement.

National insurance, tax and half of any pension contributions are taken out of your gross earnings to get a net amount.

You can check the income we used to assess your claim on:

if you disagree with the amount of income we have you used to assess your claim, you can submit a dispute.  To support your dispute you will need to send us proof of your income, savings, other benefits or other income.

Non-dependants (other adults in your household)

If you have any adults living in your household other than your partner, we may deduct a set amount from your weekly benefit entitlement. This is called a non-dependant deduction.

The amount of the deduction depends on the income of the other adults in your household and other matters. Find out more about non-dependant deductions
You can check if we have applied a non-dependant deduction to your claim and the amount we are deducting on:

If you disagree with the non-dependent deduction on your claim, you can submit a dispute. To support your dispute you will need to provide proof of the other adults income, status or child benefit if you are receiving it.

Information received from the Department of Work and Pensions

Occasionally the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will inform us if there has been a change to the benefits you receive from them, such as Pension Credits or Universal Credits.

When we receive this information we will assess your claim based on your new circumstances. The change may mean that you are entitled to more or less Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support than you was previously receiving. It can also mean that you are no longer entitled to it.

It is your responsibility to inform us about any changes to your circumstances, including a change in the benefits you receive from the DWP, so that we can ensure that you are receiving the correct amount of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

You can check the information we used to assess your claim on:

If you believe the benefits we have used to calculate your claim is incorrect, you will need to contact the DWP. You will need to let us know if they make a change to your benefits by completing the change in circumstance form.

Overpaid benefits

The amount of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support you receive can change if you have been overpaid Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

An overpayment can happen if we were informed of a change in your personal or household circumstances after the change had taken place. When you have been overpaid, we will send you a letter to inform you of the reason for the overpayment and amount you have been overpaid. You will also be able to view details about an overpayment on MyHarrow Account. Find out more about overpayments.

If you disagree with an overpayment you can submit a dispute.

When you have been overpaid check if:

  • we are recovering the overpayment by deducting a set amount from your Housing Benefit entitlement
  • your Housing Benefit entitlement  has changed

This will mean that the amount of Housing Benefit you receive will be less than you previously received.
If there is a difference between the amount of Housing Benefit you receive and your rent, you are responsible to pay the shortfall. To help you to pay for a shortfall in your rent you can apply for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). DHP is paid in exceptional circumstances and normally for a short period. For more information see the DHP pages.

Benefit cap

The Benefit Cap is a limit to the total amount of income a household can receive in certain benefits. If the amount that you receive in benefits is above the Benefit Cap, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced until your combined benefits are within the Benefit Cap limits.  You can check if your household income is above the Benefit Cap limit by using the Benefit Cap calculator.

You can also check the information we used to assess your claim on:

Find our more about the Benefit Cap.

A change in your household or personal circumstances

When you tell us about a change to your household or personal circumstances we will assess your claim based on your new circumstances.

The change in your circumstances may mean that you are entitled to more or less benefit than you was previously receiving. It can also mean that you are no longer entitled to benefits. For example if you start work or have an increase in your income your entitlement may reduce.

You can check the information we used to assess your claim on:

If you disagree with information that we have used to calculate your claim, you can submit a dispute. To support your dispute you will need to provide proof of your current circumstances.

Help to pay the difference between your rent and Housing Benefit

If you are struggling to pay the difference between your rent and your Housing Benefit, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). DHP is paid in exceptional circumstances, normally for a short period. For more information see the DHP pages.