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 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 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.