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 with all the evidence it asks for. If you move house it is better to claim on the day you move or in the same week. 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
There is no backdating provision in Council Tax Reduction so this would only be allowed from the date we received a valid claim.
Housing Benefit can be backdated if you can show good reason why you had not made the claim earlier. This would usually need to be in writing or on the claim form. 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.
There is no formal definition of 'good cause', each case will be decided according to its own individual situation.
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.
Last Updated on Thursday, March 2, 2023