If there has been a reason which stopped or delayed you applying
for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit prior to 1st April 2013 or
Council tax Reduction, you can ask for your claim to be
'backdated' so that it starts from an earlier date.
From April 2013, backdating of Council Tax Reduction is no
longer available for people of working age, but you can still apply
for backdating of Housing Benefit.
The Start Date of Your Benefit Claim
Under Benefit law your claim for benefit must be
made in writing, or on an electronic claim form via a website.
Normally we will start your claim from the Monday after the first
point of contact,even if this is a letter or phone call. It is
therefore very important that you get your application
form and evidence to us as soon as possible because it
affects the date your benefit claim will start from. If we send you
an application form we will allow you 4 weeks to complete and
return it. If you take longer than four weeks to return the
form any entitlement would start from the date we receive the
form unless there are exceptional circumstances.
There are other special rules about Housing
Benefit on two homes and overlapping liability to pay rent when you
move house and the "double rent" is unavoidable.
The Rules on Backdating
You can currently ask for
a backdate of benefits if there is a reason why you were unable to
apply for your benefit earlier. If you disagree with the date your
claim starts from for any other reason you can appeal against the
decision. For information on how to appeal go to our
"How to Appeal"
In order for a backdate of Benefit to be
allowed you will have to show 'good cause' why you did not apply
earlier. There is no formal definition of 'good cause', each case
will be decided according to its own individual situation. The
maximum period that a benefit claim can be backdated is six
months for working-age claimants and three months for people
of pension age. This period would start from the date we
receive the backdate request.