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You want to change your DWP benefit decision because your circumstances have changed

This advice applies to Wales

If you're already getting a DWP benefit your circumstances may change. This can affect your entitlement to the benefit or how much money you get.

You are responsible for telling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that your circumstances have changed.

This page tells you more about what to do if your circumstances change, how your benefit decision may be changed and what to do if you don't agree with the DWP's decision.

What are changes of circumstances?

If your circumstances change you need to tell the DWP so that they can look at your decision again. Changes of circumstances you must report include:

  • getting a job or increasing your hours of work
  • losing your job or decreasing your hours of work
  • someone joining or leaving your household
  • birth of a child
  • if your health condition or disability gets better or worse
  • getting more income or capital
  • you become ill and are unable to work.

These are only examples of changes you must report. Remember you must report any other change in circumstances that could alter the amount of benefit you get, or which mean that you should no longer get benefit.

How the DWP will change the decision

If you ask for your claim to be looked at again because of a change of circumstances, the DWP will look at making a supersession decision. This changes the decision from the date when the change happens or when the DWP first become aware of the change. For most DWP benefits you should report the change of circumstances within one month of them happening.

If you're getting Universal Credit

If you should get less or no UC

If the outcome of the supersession means you should be paid less or no UC it takes effect from the first day of the assessment period in which the change happens. Your assessment period is a one-month period, which starts on the date of each month when you first became entitled to UC.

If the change is about your limited capability for work and you could not reasonably have known that you should have reported the change earlier, the decision takes effect from the date you told them or the date DWP realised.

For example, if your condition has improved in the past and you could not have been expected to report it you will not have been overpaid benefit.

If you should be paid more benefit

If the outcome of a supersession is successful and you should be paid more UC, the decision will change either from the first day of the assessment period when:

If you're getting PIP

If you should be paid less PIP

If the outcome of the supersession means you should be paid less or no PIP it takes effect from the date of the change.

If the change is about your disability condition and you could not reasonably have known you should have reported it earlier, the decision takes effect from the date you told them, or the date DWP realised. For example, if your condition has improved in the past and you could not have been expected to report it you will not have been overpaid PIP.

If you should be paid more PIP

If the outcome of a supersession is successful and you should be paid more PIP, the decision will change either from the date when:

  • the change happened if you tell the DWP within one month of the change, or
  • you tell the DWP, or
  • the DWP first take action to change the decision.

If you’re getting contributory ESA or contribution-based JSA and live in an area where UC has started

If you should be paid less benefit

If the outcome of the supersession means you should be paid less or no benefit it takes effect from the first day of the benefit week in which the change happened.

If the change is about your limited capability for work and you could not reasonably have known that you should have reported it earlier, the decision takes effect from the date you told the DWP or the date they became aware of the change.

For example, if your condition is found to have improved in the past and you could not have been expected to report it, you will not have been overpaid benefit.

If you should be paid more benefit

If the outcome of a supersession is successful and you should be paid more benefit, the decision will change either from the first day of the benefit week when:

Why it’s best to report a change of circumstances as soon as you can

It’s important to tell the DWP about a change of circumstances as soon as you can or you may lose out on extra benefit if you’re entitled to it. You will only be paid from the date of the change if you tell the DWP within one month.

If you’re getting UC

If the outcome of a supersession is that you are entitled to more UC you will be paid from the date of change if you tell DWP in the assessment period in which the change happens. Your assessment period is a one month period. It starts on the day of the month when you first became entitled to UC.

If you delay reporting a change of circumstances

If you miss the deadline, you will only be paid from the date you tell the DWP unless you have good reasons for being late. You must:

  • apply to the decision maker for an extension of time explaining why the application is late and why you want an extension. The application must give enough information for the decision maker to identify the decision you want to dispute
  • apply within 13 months of the date the you should have told the DWP about the change, and
  • the decision maker must be satisfied that it is reasonable to extend the time limit, and
  • you show that there are special circumstances that meant it was not reasonably possible for you to apply in time.

Remember that the longer you delay telling the DWP about the change, the stronger your reasons for why you haven't told them will have to be.

How to report a change of circumstances

You can phone the helpline that deals with your benefit to report the change of circumstances. If you do this, it's best to also confirm the change in writing to the office that deals with your claim. You don't need to fill in a special form. You can just write a letter setting out the changes and the date when they happened.

If you made the claim online you can report a change of circumstances using your online account

If you don't agree with the outcome on the decision about your change of circumstances

If you don't agree with the outcome of a decision after you've reported a change of circumstances, you can ask the DWP for a reconsideration.

Next steps

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