Housing Benefit backdating

When a claim can be backdated

If there has been a reason which stopped or delayed you applying for Housing Benefit, you can ask for your claim to be 'backdated' so that it starts from an earlier date. You can only ask for a backdate of benefits if there is a good reason why you were unable to apply for your benefit earlier. A claim can only be backdated for a maximum of one month for working age claimants from the date of your claim.

In order for a claim to be backdated we must be satisfied that:

  • you have shown good cause for failing to claim earlier, and
  • that good cause existed continuously during the period for which backdating is being requested

You will need to show continuous good cause for not claiming earlier and we must be satisfied that your circumstances during this time were such that any reasonable person of your age and experience would also have failed to claim benefit.

You have to prove "good cause" but we must take account of all the facts of your case. Some examples of when you may have "good cause" are:

  • if you did not immediately claim benefit after leaving hospital
  • if you were ill and had no-one to make a claim on your behalf
  • if you did not understand that you could claim benefit perhaps because of age, inexperience or language difficulties
  • if you have suffered a recent family bereavement

Pension Age claimants

If you have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit we can backdate your benefit automatically to a maximum of three months from the date of your claim. You do not need to show good cause but you must provide proof of your income for the period of backdating.

How to make a claim for backdating

Under Housing Benefit law your claim for benefit must be made in writing. Normally we will start your claim from the Monday after we receive your letter. It is therefore very important that you get your letter to us as soon as possible because it affects the date your benefit claim will start from.

How your claim is dealt with

Your claim will be considered by a Benefits Officer. The more information and evidence you give in support of your claim the quicker a decision can be made. Sometimes it may be necessary to write to you for more information or to ask you to come in for an informal interview.

Your claim will be looked at within 1 month and you will be sent a letter telling you of our decision. If we have decided that you have not shown "good cause" and that we cannot backdate your claim, the reasons for this will be explained in our letter. You will then have the right of appeal against our decision not to backdate your claim.