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Backdating a benefit claim

Last Modified April 06, 2018

Your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support awards will usually start from the Monday following the date we receive your claim form, or in certain circumstances, the Monday following the date you informed us that you wished to make a claim for benefit. 

However, we can consider awarding you benefit from an earlier date. This is called backdating.  

For pension-age customers the maximum period Housing-Benefit-form your claim can be backdated is currently three months from the date of your claim. However, you don't have to give any reasons why you delayed in making your claim. As long as you would have qualified for benefit during the three months immediately prior to your claim, this additional benefit should be awarded automatically.  

For working-age customers we can consider backdating your claim for a maximum of one month from the date you request in writing that you would like your claim to be backdated. However, we can only backdate your claim if the following conditions are satisfied: 

  •  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.


Good cause means that a reasonable person of your age and experience would also have delayed in making their claim for benefit. Some examples of what might be considered good cause are: 

  • You have been in hospital.  
  • You have suffered a recent family bereavement.
  • You are unable to manage your financial affairs and no-one was available to help you.  


Not knowing you could claim benefit is not generally considered good cause. This is because case law has established that customers are expected to make enquiries as to what benefits are available to them and how to go about claiming them. However, we will consider the individual circumstances of every request.

When making an application for backdated benefit, you are describing the circumstances which prevented you from making a claim, or making enquiries about a claim, throughout the period in which you would like your claim to be backdated.

What happens when a backdated claim is made?

Your claim will be considered by us and the more information and evidence (such as doctors certificates) you give in support of your claim, the quicker we can make a decision. Sometimes we may write to you for more information or ask you to come in for an informal interview.

We will write to you to tell you our decision. If we cannot backdate your claim we will explain the reasons why. If this is the case, you can appeal against our decision - see our appeals process.  


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