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 for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction
- Counting back one month from the date that we received your backdate request if you are of working age for Housing Benefit
- Counting back six months from the date that we received your backdate request if you are of working age for Council Tax Reduction
You may qualify for help with both your rent and your Council Tax.
If you are of working age and claiming for assistance with your rent for the first time then you will need to claim Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit unless you are in a supported or temporary accommodation.
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 (136.4kB).
Other Help and Advice
For impartial advice on your backdated request you can contact the Citizen's Advice Bureau via the following links: