List of 16 Universal Credit changes you must report to DWP or face a penalty or court

Universal Credit claimants must report a change in their circumstances to the DWP
Universal Credit claimants must report a change in their circumstances to the DWP -Credit:PA

Universal Credit claimants must report changes in their circumstances to the Department for Work and Pensions - here is a list of things that need to be declared.

Figures from the DWP show that at the end of January 2024 there were 6.4 million people claiming Universal Credit. That includes 2.4m people in employment and represents 38% of all people claiming the income-related benefit.

Many claimants may not be aware that certain changes in circumstances must be reported or it could impact their benefit entitlement or payments and in some cases, lead to a fine or even a court appearance. DWP guidance on GOV.UK warns: “You could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if you give wrong information or do not report a change in your circumstances.”

The DWP confirmed earlier this week that it now has "3,100 full time equivalent agents reviewing Universal Credit claims", reports the Daily Record. During the 2024/25 financial year, the DWP will measure a sample of claims from some benefits and the State Pension as part of its fraud and error exercise.

Change of circumstances you need to report to DWP

DWP guidance states that you need to report changes to your circumstances so you keep getting the right amount of money each month. It adds that you need to report changes “as soon as they happen” because any delay “may mean you receive too much money and will have to make a repayment”.

DWP warns: “Changes in your circumstances can affect how much you’re paid for your whole assessment period - not just from the date you report them.”

Changes can include:

  • finding a job

  • finishing a job

  • having a child

  • moving in with your partner

  • starting to care for a child

  • starting to care for disabled person

  • changing your mobile number

  • changing your email address

  • moving to a new address

  • changing your bank details

  • your rent going up or down

  • changes to your health condition

  • becoming too ill to work or meet your work coach

  • changes to your earnings - only if you’re self-employed

  • changes to your savings, investments and how much money you have

  • changes to your immigration status, if you’re not a British citizen

You can report a change of circumstances by signing in to your Universal Credit account on GOV.UK.