Backdating Benefits

What is Backdated Benefit?

We normally pay benefit from the Monday after we receive your claim form. On certain occasions, we can pay you benefit for a period before you made your claim. This is called backdated benefit.

If you are of pension age:

We can backdate Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction up to a maximum of 3 months.

You do not have to demonstrate ‘good cause’. Just tell us the date that you would like us to consider backdating from.

If you are of working age:

We can backdate Housing benefit up to a maximum of 1 month, and Council Tax Reduction up to a maximum of 1 month. We can only backdate your benefit if:

  • you demonstrate ‘good cause’ for not making a claim for benefit earlier, and; 
  • your good cause lasted throughout the period until your written request for backdating was actually made

What is ‘good cause’?

‘Good cause’ simply means a good reason why you could not make a claim for benefit during a certain time.

This list gives some examples of good cause (other reasons might also count):

  • you were ill
  • you were in hospital
  • you had a family crisis
  • you were unavoidably away from home
  • you thought you didn’t need to claim (you must explain why you thought this)
  • were advised not to claim (you must tell us who advised you)
  • you thought you were not allowed to claim, or would not get benefit (you must tell us why you thought this)
  • you didn’t understand that you could claim, perhaps because of your age, your lack of experience of the benefits system, difficulties with language or understanding documents (you must tell us what and how this affected you)

Make a claim for backdated benefits

You must make your backdate request in writing as soon as possible during your new claim application alternatively by email or writing a letter.

Disagreeing with our decision

If we refuse your request for backdated benefit, you have 1 month to explain to us why you think our decision was wrong. 

You can also ask for the decision to be reviewed by HM Courts & Tribunals Service, an organisation independent of the Council.