The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has warned 6 million people claiming Universal Credit they could face a fine or even court if they don't report certain changes in their circumstances.

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people on a low income, who are out of work, or who cannot work due to ill health or caring responsibilities, in the UK.

Changes you need to tell the department about include having a child, changing address, changes to your job or even getting a new phone number.

As the cost of living crisis continues to hit Brits hard, it is extremely important to keep the DWP happy if you rely on support.

DWP guidance states: "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.”

You need to report changes to your circumstances so you keep getting the right amount each month. DWP guidance 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 the DWP must be informed about:

  • 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.