If there has been a reason which stopped or delayed you applying for Housing Benefit 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 your claim is received. 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 one calendar month to complete and return it. Additionally, if you telephone or email the department to express your interest to claim we will allow you one month to make your application. If you take longer than one calendar month to return the form or apply on line, 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 Benefit
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 Appeal Against A Decision page.
In order for backdated 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 one calendar month for working-age claimants and three months for people of pension age. This period would start from the date we receive the backdate request.
Backdated Council Tax Reduction
There is no provision in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for backdating, therefore any request cannot be considered.