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Backdating a claim

Find out who can and how to make a backdated claim for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

If you qualify for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support we usually pay it from the week after we get your claim.

If you or your partner has reached the age for State Pension Credit your claim will normally be paid for any period in the three months before the date we receive your claim, but only back to the date you reach pension credit age, or the date you became liable for rent or council tax, if these are later.

For Council Tax Support if you are working age we may be able to backdate your claim for up to six months before the date we receive your request for backdated benefit, but there has to be a good reason why your claim is late for the whole of the period you want benefit backdated.

For Housing Benefit if you are working age we may be able to backdate your claim for up to one month before the date we receive your request for backdated benefit, but there has to be a good reason why your claim is late for the whole of the period you want benefit backdated.

Who can claim?

You can claim if you are entitled to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support but you think your benefit should start on an earlier date because you have continuous good reason for not making a claim in time.

Examples of good reason may include the following:

  • if you were ill and had no-one to make the claim for you.
  • if you could not reasonably have been expected to know your rights, for example, where there have been changes in the law.
  • if you were wrongly advised by an official organisation that you were not entitled to housing benefit or council tax support.
  • if you were unable to manage your affairs and did not have an ‘ appointee’ or someone to help you.

How to claim

You should claim in writing as soon as you can. If you delay and you do not have good reason for the delay we may not be able to pay you backdated benefit.

You should tell us:

  • the date you think your benefit should start
  • the reason why you did not claim earlier

What happens when we receive your backdate request?

When we receive your backdate request, we will write to you if we need more information. If we write to you, you should provide the information we ask for within one month of the date we asked for it.

We might ask you to give us information that you have not had to give us before, like proof of the reasons for your delay or medical records if you have been ill.

If we cannot backdate your benefit we will send you a letter telling you the reasons why we cannot backdate your benefit. We will usually send this letter within 14 days of receiving all the details form you.

If we agree to backdate your benefit we will send you a letter telling you how much benefit you will get. This letter is called a decision notification letter. This letter will tell you how we have worked out your benefit. You should read this letter carefully to make sure your benefit is correct.

The letter we send will tell you what to do if you do not agree with our decision, or you can visit the Disagreeing with our decision page of the website for more information.

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