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How to claim backdated Housing Benefit

Updated: 21 Mar 2019
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You must show you had 'good cause' for not claiming previously
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Procedures for having a Housing Benefit claim “backdated”

When does an award of Housing Benefit usually begin?

If you make a claim and you are entitled to Housing Benefit, your award will generally begin from the Monday after the date we receive your claim form.
(There are some limited exceptions to this rule.)


If you want to have your claim for Housing Benefit paid from a date before you submitted your claim, you can ask us to consider what is known as a “backdated” award of housing benefit.
The following information sets out a summary of the rules in relation to backdating.

I wish to have my Housing Benefit award backdated, what should I do?

You can ask us to backdate an award of Housing Benefit when you complete your application form. (See page 6 of the Housing Benefit application form).
You can ring us on telephone number 03448 920 902 if you want to know more about backdating..
What information needs to be provided?
In your request for backdating, you need to tell us the date you want to have your claim paid from and also the circumstances that prevented you from making your application earlier. This would be for the period between when you want your award of Housing Benefit to start and when you actually make your claim.

The law relating to backdating

If you are under pension credit age:
From the 5th of September 2016, the law allows a Housing Benefit claim to be backdated for a maximum period of ONE month before the date you make your request for backdating.
The ONE month limit also applies to men over pension credit age but less than aged 65 who are in receipt of Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related).
A backdated award of Housing Benefit can only be considered if you had ‘good cause’ for not claiming throughout that period.
What is meant by ‘good cause’?
‘Good cause’ can mean different things, but some examples are:
  • If you were waiting for a decision on another benefit
  • If you were ill before you claimed.
  • If you could not immediately claim after leaving hospital
  • If you were unable to manage your affairs
  • If you did not understand that you could claim – perhaps because of your age, language problems or some other reason
  • If you were caring for someone who was ill
  • If you were dealing with a bereavement
This is not a complete list. You should give us your own reasons why you did not claim earlier. It is important that we know all the relevant details before we make a decision.
We will look at the reasons for your delay and consider if you have shown ‘good cause’ for the whole of the period you did not claim.
We will then write to you and let you know if your Housing Benefit award can be backdated.

Over Pension Credit age

If you are over pension credit age, the law requires us to automatically treat your claim for Housing Benefit as being made 3 months before we actually received your claim. This would mean we can consider paying you for a period up to 3 months before the date we received your application form.
  • You must however have had rent/rates charges to pay AND have been over pension credit age AND be entitled to Housing Benefit for all of the 3 months in question for this rule to apply.
This process is not backdating, it is what the law says must happen when you apply. This rule also applies to men over pension credit age but less than aged 65 who are NOT in receipt of Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance (Income based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related).