If there is a reason that has stopped or delayed you applying for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction you can ask for your claim to be backdated so that it starts from an earlier date. You can only get backdated benefit if there is continuous 'good cause' as to why you were unable to apply for your benefit earlier.
There is no formal definition of 'good cause' - each case will be decided according to its own individual circumstances. However, the reason that you give for the delay in submitting your claim must show 'good cause' continuously for the whole of the period that you want your benefit backdating.
When applying for backdated Housing Benefit you will also be considered for backdated Council Tax Reduction.
If you disagree with the date your claim starts from for any other reason, you can appeal against the decision within a calendar month of that decision being made.
Who is eligible to claim a backdate?
Persons claiming Housing Benefit / Council Tax Benefit are eligible to request a backdated claim. The maximum period that a benefit claim can be backdated is:
- Counting back three months from the date that we received your backdate request if you are of Pension Credit age
- Counting back six months from the date that we received your backdate request if you are of working age
Counting back from the date we received the backdate request. You may qualify for help with both your rent and your Council Tax.
How do you apply for a backdate?
The backdate request must be received in writing, stating your name, address, claim number, the date you wish your claim to be backdated to, and the reason why you were late applying for benefit. You may wish to use the Request for Backdating Application Form (45.8kB).
The documents you need to provide along with your completed application form and backdate letter/form.
When making a backdated application for Benefit we always need to see original documents for you, your partner and any other people who live in your home.
In order for your claim to be processed we need to see:
- Proof of your tenancy and the rent payable by you ( for Housing Benefit claims)
- Proof of all income for both you and your partner for the period of time in question
- Proof of all capital, savings and investments for the period of time in question.
- Proof of the income and capital of any other people living with you for the period of time in question.
- Where a backdate of Second Adult Rebate for Council Tax is being claimed, proof of income and saving is required for the 'second adult', not the liable person.
If you are self-employed, we need to see your accounts for the period in question. For more information please contact our office and an officer will be able to explain more.
For more details on what is acceptable evidence please read the notes supplied with the application form. Please remember every document must be an original; we cannot accept photocopies. Do not delay sending in your claim form even if you do not have all the evidence now. Please send or bring the documents in later, but within four weeks. Let us know if you need more than four weeks to provide proof.
Forms and documents can be brought to any Comhairle Office. Any documents posted will be returned by post. We do not accept responsibility for the loss of any documents sent by post and so it is therefore recommended that you bring any valuable documents to one of our offices.
Other Help and Advice
For impartial advice on your backdated request you can contact the Citizen's Advice Bureau via the following links:
- Barra Citizens Advice Bureau (Western Isles)
- Harris Citizens Advice Bureau (Western Isles)
- Lewis Citizens Advice Bureau (Western Isles)
- Uist Citizens Advice Bureau (Western Isles)