MILLIONS of households rely on Universal Credit, but what you're entitled to depends on your personal circumstances.

If yours change, it can affect how much of the benefit you get and what work-related activities you have to fulfil to get the full allowance.

You should tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about any change, however small.

If you don't, you may not get all the money you are entitled to.

Or, you may get more than you should and it will need to be paid back.

In some cases, you may even be fined for not reporting a change in circumstances or could end up in court.

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But what changes should you report, and what help can you get if you don't know how to?

Here's everything you need to know.

What changes do I need to report?

You need to tell the DWP about any changes to your work, money or family life to ensure you are receiving the correct Universal Credit allowance.

The main changes you'll need to report relate to:

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  • jobs and volunteering
  • where you are living
  • relationship changes
  • changes relating to any children
  • changing your bank details
  • starting or stopping education
  • you or your partner reaching state pension age
  • health changes
  • if someone you are close to dies
  • changes to your immigration status

What you have to report for each change varies so it's worth checking out the government's website for more details.

But you should tell the DWP about any change just in case it has a knock-on effect on your allowance.

If the change impacts your ability to work, or look for work, you might have to ask to change your Claimant Commitment too.

A Claimant Commitment sets out what you have agreed to do to prepare and look for work, or to increase your earnings if you are already in work.

Everyone's Claimant Commitment is unique to them and depends on their personal circumstances.

But, as an example, you might have to amend yours if changes to childcare mean you have less time to look for work each week.

What happens if you don't report changes?

If you don't report any changes of circumstances you can end up being paid too much or too little Universal Credit.

If you've been paid too much you'll have to pay it back.

Incorrect or late reporting of a change of circumstances can see your claim stopped as well.

And in a worse case scenario you can be taken to court or be forced to pay a penalty if you do not report a change.

How can I get help reporting changes of circumstances?

You can report any change of circumstances by signing into your Universal Credit account online.

If you're struggling to do this, you can always try the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

Alternatively, charities like Turn2Us and Citizens Advice can help guide you through the process.

You can phone Turn2Us on 0808 802 2000 or Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133.

You can use benefits calculators to figure out how much a change of circumstance, such as an increase in working hours, will impact your Universal Credit allowance.

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Entitled To, Turn2Us and Policy in Practice all have helpful calculators on their websites that you can use for free.

Or, you can speak with your Job Centre work coach.

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