Universal credit: The 21 lifestyle changes claimants must report to DWP to avoid ending up in court

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People who claim Universal Credit are being warned that they must report these changes in circumstances to receive the correct benefits from DWP.

Universal Credit claimants are being warned that they should report certain changes to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or they could be at risk of losing their money.

People who claim these benefits are legally obliged to inform the DWP of certain changes in circumstances, and if deliberately avoided, they could see themselves in court.

Universal Credit is paid out monthly to people who have no or low income by the DWP. However, the DWP asks that the 5.7m recipients of the benefit report any changes in their lives which could affect the amount they get each month.

These circumstances include moving in with a partner, having a baby or reaching pension age. Claimants are obliged by law to report these lifestyle changes, and if they are seen to have not informed the DWP deliberately, it could be seen as committing benefit fraud.

People who do not keep the DWP up to date with the circumstances could have their benefits stopped or reduced. If you do not report a change or a mistake, you might be paid too much which could result in having to pay the money back or result in a £50 penalty.

If you are suspected of committing benefit fraud by not reporting changes in circumstances or giving false information you will be contacted by the DWP and HMRC and your benefits could be stop while you are being investigated. You could also be visited by a Fraud Investigation Officer (FIO) or asked to attend an interview to talk about your claim - this is called an ‘interview under caution’.

People who claim Universal Credit should be aware of what changes in circumstances they need to report to the DWPPeople who claim Universal Credit should be aware of what changes in circumstances they need to report to the DWP
People who claim Universal Credit should be aware of what changes in circumstances they need to report to the DWP | Pixabay

The 21 changes Universal Credit claimants must report to DWP

  1. Changing your name or gender
  2. Finding or finishing a job, or working different hours
  3. Your income going up or down
  4. Starting or stopping education, training or an apprenticeship
  5. Moving house
  6. People moving into or out of the place you live (for example your partner, a child or a lodger)
  7. The death of your partner or someone you live with
  8. Having a baby
  9. Starting or stopping caring for someone
  10. Getting married or divorced
  11. Starting or ending a civil partnership
  12. Planning to go abroad for any length of time
  13. Going into a hospital, a care home or sheltered accommodation
  14. Any changes to your medical condition or disability
  15. Changing your doctor
  16. Changes to your pension, savings, investments or property
  17. Changes to other money you get (for example student loans or grants, sick pay or money you get from a charity)
  18. Changes to the benefits you or anyone else in your house gets
  19. You or your partner getting back-pay (sometimes called ‘arrears’) for salary or earnings you’re owed
  20. Changes to your immigration status, if you’re not a British citizen
  21. If you claim Child Benefits you also need to report changes to your child’s circumstances.

How to report changes to the DWP

Who you tell depends on which benefits you get. You’ll need to report your change to more than one organisation if you get more than one benefit.

Universal Credit

Report changes using your Universal Credit online account if you have one or contact the Universal Credit helpline.

Pension Credit

Call the Pension Service helpline or report changes by post.

Disability benefits

Call the Disability Service Centre to report changes if you get Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Housing Benefit

Tell your local council about changes if you get Housing Benefits.

Child Benefit

Report changes using the Child Benefit online service or call or write to the Child Benefit Office.

Call Jobcentre Plus to report changes. You need to have your National Insurance number when you call.

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