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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Penalties and interest: date the customer becomes aware of the change of circumstances

Customers must tell us of certain changes within 1 month of the date:

  • on which the change of circumstances occurs or
  • the customer first becomes aware of the change in circumstances if this is later

In most cases the date of the change will be clear cut and the customer could not possibly have failed to realise (be aware) there had been a change. For example the customer stopped using a child care provider or they lost their job or the young person left school.

In some cases the date of the change will be less obvious. If the customer did not realise the change had taken place until a later date the time limit for notifying the change begins from the date on which they realised the change had happened. We will only consider a penalty if they have not notified the change within one month of this later date.


The customer’s usual working hours dropped to less than 30 hours on 12 November but because the number of hours they work each week varies so much they did not realise until 2 December that there had been a change. They will have 1 month from 2 December to notify the change but their award will be adjusted from 12 November which is the date the change took place. They will have to repay any overpaid credits.