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ESA: Reporting changes to the DWP

This advice applies to England

If there’s a change in your circumstances, you need to tell the DWP about it because it could affect your ESA.

You need to do this whether you’re in the support group or the work-related activity group.

The DWP need to know about changes to do with your condition, for example if it:

  • gets better
  • gets worse
  • changes to another condition

They also need to know about any changes to your living arrangements. For example, if you:

  • move house
  • go into or leave hospital, prison or legal custody
  • go abroad or are about to go abroad

Going abroad

If you’re going abroad for less than 4 weeks, it won’t affect your ESA - but you should still tell the DWP.

If you’re going abroad for 4 weeks or more, contact your nearest Citizens Advice to check if it will affect your ESA.

If you get income-related ESA you need to tell the DWP if you:

  • start living with someone
  • have someone come to live in your house
  • get married or divorced
  • form or break up a civil partnership

You must also tell the DWP about any changes to the money coming into or going out of your household. This includes things like if you or your partner start or stop getting a benefit, an allowance or a pension income. Or if you or your partner start work.

There are lots of things that could affect your ESA and these are just some examples.

If you’re not sure whether the DWP need to know something, it’s best to tell them anyway.

How to contact the DWP about changes

Call Jobcentre Plus to tell the DWP about any changes.

When you get in touch, they’ll ask you for:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • your National Insurance number

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Welsh language telephone: 0800 328 1744
Calls to these numbers are free.

Reporting changes on time

Once you know about a change that might affect the amount of ESA you get, tell the DWP as soon as you can.

The change might increase your payment and you might miss out on extra money if you tell the DWP late.

You should still tell the DWP if you think a change might reduce your ESA - you won't save money by reporting it later. If you tell the DWP late you could get paid too much and have to pay your benefits back to the DWP. This is called an overpayment - check how the DWP deals with overpayments.

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